Arclight Symposium

Arclight Symposium will take place at Concordia University, Montreal from May 13-15, 2015. The symposium brings together media historians, digital humanities scholars, and “big data” critics for a wide-ranging discussion about the advances and pitfalls of digital methods for media history.

Arclight Symposium is part of Project Arclight, a University of Wisconsin-Madison/Concordia University (Media History Research Centre) collaboration to develop web-based tools to study the rise of 20th century American media, using the 1.4 million digitized pages of the Media History Digital Library.

Funding comes from an international “Digging into Data” grant, administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the US Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School. Enormous thanks for symposium organization go to Rachel MacNeill, Tyler Morgenstern, and Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon.


Download the full Arclight Symposium program as a PDF here.

Symposium Schedule:

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

2:30-2:45 – Check-in and set-up

2:45-3:00 – Welcoming Remarks
Charles Acland (Concordia University)
Eric Hoyt (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

3:00-3:30 – Arclight App
Eric Hoyt (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Tony Tran (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Fenwick McKelvey (Concordia University)
Charles Acland (Concordia University)

3:30-5:00 – Keynote: “Show me the History! Big Data Goes to the Movies”
Deb Verhoeven (Deakin University)

5:00-6:30 – Reception


Thursday, May 14th, 2015

9:00-10:30 – Audio Tracking

“The Lost Critical History of Radio”
Michele Hilmes (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

“Historicist Audio Forensics”
Jason Camlot (Concordia University)

“Small Data: Report from the EASTT Group”
Lea Jacobs (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Kaitlin Fyfe (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Chair: Deb Verhoeven (Deakin University)

10:30-10:45 – Coffee Break

10:45-12:15 – Datasets and Historical Inquiry

“Station IDs: Making Local Markets Meaningful”
Kit Hughes (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

“Filmographic Databases and Query Comparison: A Methodology for Historical Research”
Derek Long (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

“The Media Ecology Project”
Mark Williams (Dartmouth College)

Chair: Eric Hoyt (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

12:15-1:30 – Lunch (Provided on-site)

1:30-3:00 – Film, Media, Archaeology

“Digital Humanities and Media History”
David Berry (University of Sussex)

“Digital Resources and the History of Non-Theatrical Cinema”
Greg Waller (Indiana University)

“Middle-Range Reading: Will Future Media Historians Have a Choice?”
Paul Moore (Ryerson University)
Sandra Gabriele (Concordia University)

Chair: Haidee Wasson (Concordia University)

3:00-3:15 – Coffee Break

3:15-4:45 – Mapping Flow and Figure

“Understanding the Global Circulation of Films Through Flow Mapping”
Laura Horak (Carleton University)

“Bachelor Reveries: Bachelorhood in Antebellum American Literature and Early American Film”
Lisa Spiro (Rice University)

“To the top, and back: Charting Pauline Garon’s Transnational Career”
Louis Pelletier (Université de Montréal & Concordia University)

Chair: Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon (Concordia University)


Friday, May 15th, 2015

9:00-10:30 – Digital Media Historiography

“Listicles, Vignettes, and Squibs: The Biographical Challenges of Mass History”
Ryan Cordell (Northeastern University)

“Formats and Film Studies: Using Digital Tools to Understand the Dynamics of Portable Cinema”
Haidee Wasson (Concordia University)

“The New New Cinema History: Data Ubiquity and Hyperabundance”
Robert Allen (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)

Chair: Michael E. Sinatra (Université de Montréal)

10:30-10:45 – Coffee Break

– Roundtable on Media History and Digital Methods

Chair and Animator: Paul Moore (Ryerson University)


Proceedings will take place in rooms H763 & H765 Hall Building (7th floor), Concordia University 1455 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montreal, Quebec