I’m Jessica Marie Otis, Director of Public Projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University. book cover for By the Numbers: Numeracy, Religion, and the Quantitative Transformation of Early Modern England by Jessica Marie Otis features two men and a little boy overlooking a counting table

My research explores how people adopt and adapt to new information technologies, as well as the ways those technologies can transform previous understandings of both the natural world and human history. My historical research focuses on the cultural history of everyday mathematics in early modern England (including fun things like plague statistics and cryptography), while my digital research ranges from projects focused on early modern history to meta-projects on the current and potential future practice of DH. For an abbreviated list of my academic accomplishments and publications, check out my C.V. page.

My book on numeracy in early modern England is available from Oxford University Press.

My current/recent digital projects include:

DataScribe – with Lincoln Mullen (GMU) – this NEH-funded project is creating a transcription module for structured data, and will integrate with the Omeka S platform.

Death by Numbers – this NSF-funded project involves constructing an online database of information from the 17th-century London Bills of Mortality and examining plague mortality data during epidemic and endemic plague years using network analysis.

Gaming the Great Plague of London – with Stephanie Grimm (GMU) and Nathan Sleeter (GMU) – this RRCHNM-funded prototype project is creating an exploration of the 1664-1667 plague outbreak in London meant for classroom and public use

Mathematical Humanists – with Ashley Sanders (UCLA) – this NEH-funded series of workshops is intended to introduce participants to fundamental mathematical concepts that underpin common Digital Humanities (DH) methods.

World History Commons – with Adam Clulow (University of Texas, Austin), Kelly Schrum (GMU), Nathan Sleeter (GMU), Merry Weisner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), and others – this ACLS-funded and NEH-funded project is revitalizing an Open Educational Resource for teaching World History.

When not working, I can generally be found spoiling cats, volunteering with Girl Scouts, or running. I’ve also been known to take a scenic photograph or two.