Research Without Borders: Negotiating Constraints and Open Scholarship

Please join us for Research Without Borders: Negotiating Constraints and Open Scholarship”, our third event of the academic year in our Research Without Borders panel discussion series. This event will take place from 1-3pm on Thursday, February 27, 2014 in Garden Room 1 of Columbia’s Faculty House (directions here.) It is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.

How is research produced, accessed, and distributed in the presence of constraints? What does it mean for underserved communities to have research openly accessible to them? How does community participation in research change the nature of that research, and how do academia and society benefit? How and why should academic work be made available to the public? 

Points of discussion will include: exploring the ways research is being made openly accessible to overcome these constraints, how and why researchers have incorporated community participation into their projects, and alternative scholarship distribution models.

Our panelists:

Leith Mullings is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at CUNY. Her research and writing focuses on structures of inequality and resistance to them, and through the lens of feminist and critical race theory she has analyzed topics including women’s roles, religion, representation, health disparities, and social movements, both in urban communities in the USA and in Africa. Many of her projects have utilized community participation methods in her research. She has written and edited several books, and has won awards including the Society for the Anthropology of North America Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America. From 2011 to 2013, she served as President of the American Anthropological Association.

Dennis Tenen (@dennistenen) is Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and New Media Studies at Columbia University in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. He writes and teaches in the field of computational culture studies both as in the critical study of computational culture and in the sense of applying computational approaches to the study of culture. Tenen is Senior Principle Investigator for piracyLab, an academic research collective exploring the impact of piracy on the spread of knowledge around the world. Tenen received his doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard in 2011, where he co-taught the university’s first-ever course on digital humanities. His writes about his research at

Lela Prashad (@lelap) is co-founder and Chief Data Scientist at NiJeL. In her role at NiJel, she collaborates with organizations to help them tell their stories through data and mapping, and opens two-way lines of communication and participation with both the communities she is working with and with the public. Prashad directed the 100 Cities Project at Arizona State University until 2012 and is still active in urban research with the school. Prior to NiJeL she established and ran the water program for the environmental non-profit Arizona PIRG, and worked with the United States Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Team. Prashad holds a Master of Science in Geological Sciences from ASU.

Our moderator:

Manan Ahmed (@sepoy) is Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University. His work focuses on the relationship between text, space, and narrative, and his areas of specialization include political and cultural history of Islam in South and Southeast Asia, frontier-spaces and the city in medieval South Asia, imperial and colonial historiography, and philology. Ahmed is involved in Digital Humanities projects, especially with visualizing space in medieval texts and texualizing medieval and early-modern maps. He is currently working on a study of the early 13th century account of Uch, Sind. Ahmed received his Ph.D from the University of Chicago in 2008, and blogs at Chapati Mystery.

This event is the third event this academic year in our speaker series Research Without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication. It is co-sponsored by Columbia University Libraries/Information Services‘ Scholarly Communication Program and the Digital Humanities Center. Join the discussion on Twitter at #rwob and @ScholarlyComm. To watch a live webcast of the event, and for more information about Research Without Borders, visit the Scholarly Communication Program website at


The Scholarly Communication Program (SCP) supports the global reach and impact of research produced at Columbia University. Its mission is to explore and raise awareness about new research tools, methods, and support services that are available to Columbia faculty, students, and staff. In pursuit of this mission, the SCP hosts events and workshops, curates news and resources on our Web site, and engages in innovative scholarly communication initiatives on campus and in the wider academic community. The SCP is an initiative of the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, which is part of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services. 

The Digital Humanities Center (DHC) is a research and instructional facility of the Columbia University Libraries that helps Columbia faculty and students incorporate computer-based textual, bibliographic, image, and video information into their research, study, and teaching.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: