Hi! I’m Zoe.

I’m currently a Postdoctoral Associate and Weld Fellow at the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University. I received my Ph.D. in History at Vanderbilt University in August 2019. My dissertation, “Circulating Anti-Colonial Cairo: Decolonizing Information and Constructing the Third World in Egypt, 1952-1966”, is the first digital history dissertation at Vanderbilt, and throughout my chapters I use computational methods to analyze archival sources and craft historical arguments. My research looks at how Egypt in the 1950s and 60s became a leader among decolonizing states, and specifically how Cairo became a hub for both anti-colonial movements and media circulated to the rest of the Third World. I’m particularly interested in how ideas about information and modernity became implicated in Egypt’s effort to build a global anti-colonial political community. I’m currently working on developing my dissertation into a digital publication that will allow readers to explore the construction of the Third World both historically and computationally.

In addition to my work as a historian of international movements and information, I am also passionate about integrating computational methods into historical research. During my dissertation, I built new tools for digitizing archival sources, and utilized a combination of natural language processing, computer vision, and machine learning to compile my datasets and analyze them. I am currently working on an article that explores how the shift from archival sources to datasets is transforming historical research. Previously I was a Digital Humanities Developer at the Scholars’ Lab, University of Virginia, where I was responsible for building web applications for mapping and data visualization in the humanities. I was also part of a multi-institutional team to harmonize data from HathiTrust, JStor, and Portico for humanities’ text data analysis. In addition to these projects, I taught undergraduate students, graduate fellows, and faculty at UVA on a wide range of topics, including machine learning and statistical modeling, data visualization and network analysis, and databases and websites. In the Fall 2018, I also developed and piloted an intensive programming course for graduate fellows at the Scholars’ Lab, which you can find on Github at https://github.com/ZoeLeBlanc/CodeLab.

Hope you say hi back 👋!

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