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Mr. Joel Lee
Digital Humanities Associate Fellow

“Exploring the Language of Othering in US Newspapers During the Holocaust”

Professional Background

Joel Lee received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature and Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021. During his undergraduate studies, Lee spent much of his academic work with the Price Lab for Digital Humanities and Penn Libraries’ Research Data and Digital Scholarship team. There he was involved in coding and developing a variety of Digital Humanities projects, including “Mapping Youth Protest in Africa,” where he helped develop an interactive map of high school and university protests. He likewise helped build “text/book”, a full-stack web tool, comprising both front-end and back-end applications/tools, that allows users to analyze a companion corpus such as newspaper articles.

Lee’s coursework at the University of Pennsylvania combined computer science courses on databases, algorithms, and crowdsourcing, with English classes on Digital Humanities, Asian American literature, and Museum studies. It was through the Price Lab for Digital Humanities, and subsequently an independent study with Dr. James English on computational literary studies, that led to his current focus. From there, Lee has found interest in studying a variety of different Digital Humanities tools and methods. He has developed several technical and historical projects on The Daily Pennsylvanian Archives, a website containing every issue of the University of Pennsylvania’s student newspaper, analyzing language and different topics across the publication's history.

Fellowship Research

Lee was awarded the 2021-2022 Digital Humanities Associate Fellowship at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and Levine Institute for Holocaust Education for his research project, “Exploring the Language of Othering in US Newspapers During the Holocaust.” The project focuses mainly on the Museum’s History Unfolded project, a crowdsourcing database for local newspaper articles across the United States. Throughout the fellowship, Lee will look at and explore the language used by newspapers across the US when speaking about Jewish people in the Holocaust, considering the newspaper a lens through which Americans may have conceptualized their experiences. Starting with articles and opinion pieces, Lee will investigate whether similar phrases, words, or tones are used in newspapers across the country, and how that can potentially be conceptualized as a shared constructed language by Americans.

Residency Period: September 1, 2021, through June 3, 2022