Digital Arts, Sciences, & Humanities Program Director

180 O. Meredith Wilson Library
612.624.0535
benwig@umn.edu

He/him/his

Benjamin is the Director of the Digital Arts, Sciences, & Humanities (DASH) Program for University Libraries and Affiliate Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota.

His research focuses on the history of risk assessment, insurance, finance, and race in the United States and England.  His work--both in his leadership of the DASH program and in his scholarship--also investigates how to improve research processes with digital technologies as well as strategies for effective scholarly collaboration. 

He is the author of Calculating Race: Racial Discrimination in Risk Assessment (Oxford University Press, 2020) and has published articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Ethnic & Racial Studies, Journal of Academic Librarianship, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and EngagementPortal: Libraries and the Academy, and Television and New Media.  He has also contributed to the Routledge International Handbook of Research Methods in the Digital Humanities and his work has been featured in The American Historian, American Libraries, Nonprofit Quarterly, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.  Benjamin (with JB Shank) is the recipient of a 2019 National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Advancement grant to build a portal to explore early modern print using Mirador.  In 2020, Benjamin was named a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and awarded a Digital Exension grant (with Samantha Blickhan) for his research into handwritten text recognition through a combination of crowdsourcing and machine learning with Zooniverse.  And also in 2020, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Benjamin (with Evan Roberts and Samantha Blickhan) an Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities Institute grant to develop a cohort of researchers focused on crowdsourced transcription of historical records.  

Previously, he served as the Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also taught in the Department of History and the Department of History & Sociology of Science.  Additionally, he has served as a consultant for the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law.

Education

Ph.D., American Studies

University of Minnesota

B.A. (summa cum laude)

University of Minnesota