Penn State UP, 2012

My research takes me to Mexico, and my first book was the product of years of work studying local financial networks in Yucatan. I am working on a second book, which takes me back to archives in Yucatan, as well as Mexico City. In between the end of the first book, and the beginning of the second one,  I became a digital humanist.

Digital Humanities – or DH as it is often called, is very much a field that defies any one definition. I like to think of it as a place where computational methods/mechanisms/systems meet the Humanities. One of the many ways technology has affected how I operate in the Humanities is that it I have integrated questions of design into intellectual and pedagogical ones. Teaching is for most academics a free-form and self-taught experience. The merging of technology and teaching requires we think about course design – both in terms of process and user experience. This cross-disciplinary nature of DH also makes it a more open field, where collaboration and sharing are the norm rather than the exception. This is in large part why I am working on an open and searchable database of my research documents.

I teach all sorts of classes on Latin American history as well as a gateway course to the History major. We have called it “The Historian’s Workshop” and it teaches lower division History majors the basic tools of historical research – it introduces students to primary sources and how historians use them – as well as historical writing and form. I use twitter in the classroom to reframe my role and that of students in the traditional large lecture hall. This is how Digital Zombies came into being. Digital Zombies is a hybrid (meaning it is both online and not) research project for students, that can be customized to work for different courses at any university/college.

When I am not teaching, you’ll find me researching, writing, blogging and talking about the digital humanities, Virtual Reality, and the formation of financial markets. For this last topic, what interests me most interested in the legal, social and cultural contexts that form markets. I see markets as a privileged space in which to analyze human interaction – markets exist everywhere and at any time, and make for great spaces of exploration and comparison.

My first book analyzed the growth of credit markets in the absence of banks in Mexico during the nineteenth century. I am currently collaborating with a colleague at the Radboud University Nijmegen (in the Netherlands) on cross-country comparisons of informal credit markets – we are comparing the Dutch credit markets in the seventeenth century to French credit markets in the eighteenth century and Mexico in the nineteenth, and  as well as Prussia, and Argentina and China.  I am also working on a second book about credit markets during the Mexican Revolution. In short, I am interested in how markets develop in the absence of formal institutions, and by that token I am interested in all types of informal arrangements, not just economic ones.

You can contact email me via email at juliette@ucr.edu or on twitter @profjuliette.