Category Archives: Workshops

Final Workshop Preview: Writing Online

The audiences for academic writing, academic writing on-line, and blogging present their own sets of expectations. Our roundtable pulls on many years of experience as readers, writers, and editors to share stories about writing on religion for a variety of outlets. Starting with the premise that academics want to write for a broad audience, we will cover issues of why you may want to write for popular venues, how to get started, what are some challenges you may face, and potential downsides. We will also show off some of our favorite tools. We are looking forward to a lively conversation.

Here’s the Google Doc of blogs

Creating Multi-Platform Digital Publications in Religion and Theology

I am interested in how others are using and designing vertically integrated content publication of religion and theology studies, and would like to share how I have been using multi-platform digital technology.

I propose to give a short presentation on my work on the Jesus Prayer (and hesychia: prayer and contemplation in silence) that was originally a doctoral thesis and ethnographic field study, that I’ve “outputted” into ten different platforms: dissertation, ethnographic film, trade book (HarperOne), mass-market feature film (theaters, digital downloads on iTunes, Amazon, and DVD), two websites (, music/meditation/prayer CD, PBS network special, Digital Study Guide, national public radio special (Columbia University Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life), and an academic book (Fortress Press, Feb. 1, 2014).  All the same content; designed and adapted to be widely shared across every platform.

Then, the session can become a conversation about how others have implemented and are designing multi-platform (transmedia) dissemination.

Finally, if there’s time and interest, let’s do a think tank and brainstorming session on how to translate research and discoveries into multiple outputs, inside and outside academia. Take away a sketch of how your work can be digitally shared.

I am currently Adjunct Instructor at New York University’s Kanbar Institute of Film and Television (teaching history to media students), and Executive Producer/Host of a national public radio/podcast series titled “Rethinking Religion” from Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life. I completed my doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York in 2008, interdisciplinary: Theology and the Arts.

Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D.

Workshop Preview: Digital Ethnography

In addition to workshops on Omeka and statistical programming languages, THATCamp AAR is excited to also offer a workshop on utilizing technology in ethnographic research. Gregory Grieve, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Tim Hutchings, of Durham University, will be hosting the workshop, which will take place in our first breakout session.

Event Description:  “Virtual ethnography: Exploring religion in digital worlds” introduces and evaluates new methods in virtual ethnography and offers a perspective on the field of digital religious studies.  The first half of the workshop features Dr. Greg Grieve, a leader in the field of digital religion, and specializes in ethnographic approaches to the intersection of religion, media and popular culture.  He will draw from his work on Buddhist meditation in the virtual world and his forthcoming book from Routledge entitled: Digital Zen: Buddhism, Virtual Worlds and Networked Consumerism (2014). The second half of the workshop features Dr Tim Hutchings, who also uses ethnographic methods to study digital religion. Dr Hutchings will draw on his studies of online Christian churches (2006-2010) and Christian mobile apps (2012-2013), exploring the ethical challenges encountered in multi-sited and virtual ethnographic research.

Workshop Preview #2: Data Analysis for Humanists

In addition to Amanda French’s workshop on Omeka, Lincoln Mullen, a Ph.D. candidate at Brandeis University, has also agreed to offer a hands-on workshop on using statistical programs to analyze data sets relevant to humanities scholars. Mullen has also agreed to hold a kind of THATCamp office hours after his workshop, where he’s agreed to work one on one with interested campers. Thanks, Lincoln!

Humanities scholars now have access to a range of data sets and techniques for analyzing them that were previously regarded as the province of scholars in other disciplines. In this workshop, we’ll try our hands at a couple forms of analysis, using data sets of interest to scholars of religion. We will make maps from the missions of the Paulist Fathers and do some quantitative analysis of religious demographic data. By bringing these common kinds of data analysis together, we will learn the basic practices and theories which underlie all of them. Of course we will have occasion to discuss what data analysis means from a humanistic perspective. During this workshop we will get hands-on with the statistical programming language R. While there are many tools to make maps, mine texts, and analyze numbers, R is especially powerful because it can perform all of these types of analysis. R is a favorite tool of academics, Google, and the New York Times, so it has strong support. You are encouraged to install R (the programming language itself) and the desktop version of R Studio (a tool to help you use R) in advance. Self-starters can watch some of Google’s video introductions to R to acquire the basics. While you will benefit from learning some of the theory behind the analysis even without using R, there is no substitute for performing the analysis yourself, and you’ll pick up the basics of a powerful digital humanities tool. 

THATCamp AAR Workshops: Introduction to Omeka

In addition to user-proposed sessions and meetings, THATCamps are also often great places to attend hands on workshops led by experts in the field. THATCampAAR is very fortunate in that will have a number of wonderful sessions offered by some very smart and generous scholars. Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be posting brief abstracts of the workshops we’re hosting, but you can get a sneak peak at all of them over at the schedule right now.

Our first workshop preview is for learning the basics of Omeka, an open source program to create digital archives and web exhibits. The workshop will be lead by  Amanda French, Research Assistant Professor and THATCamp Coordinator at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, who has agreed to join us in Baltimore!

Building Scholarly Online Archives with Omeka

These days, any scholar or organization is almost certain to have a collection of digital material from research and teaching: scanned texts, digital images, original syllabi, even historic songs, oral histories, or digital video. Omeka is a simple, free system built by and for scholars and cultural heritage professionals that will help you publish and interpret such digital material online in a scholarly way so that it’s available for researchers, students, and the public in a searchable online database integrated with attractive online essays and exhibits. In this introduction to Omeka, we’ll look at a few of the many examples of Omeka websites built by archives, libraries, museums, and individual scholars and teachers; define some key terms and concepts related to Omeka; learn about the Dublin Core metadata standard for describing digital objects; and go over the difference between the hosted version of Omeka at and the self-hosted version of Omeka at Participants will also learn to use Omeka themselves through hands-on exercises, so please *bring a laptop* (not an iPad). Learn more about Omeka at and

The complete Introduction to Omeka lesson plan is available on Amanda French’s website or via