David J. Birnbaum

David J. Birnbaum

Professor and Co-Chair

B.A. (magna cum laude), Russian, Brown University, 1976

M.A. Slavic languages and literatures, Ohio State University, 1978

M.A. Slavic languages and literatures, Harvard University, 1980

Ph.D. Slavic languages and literatures, Harvard University, 1988

Office: 1228 CL

Besides chairing the Department, Birnbaum teaches Computing in the Humanties and travels the globe as an expert in electronic text processing.


2013 AATSEEL Excellence in Teaching at the Post-Secondary Level

2009 Pitagor (Pythagoras) Prize from the Bulgarian Ministry of Education for the Repertorium workstation

2004 ESSA Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award for The Povest′ vremennykh let: an interlinear collation and paradosis

2000 AATSEEL Distinguished Contributions to the Profession

Courses Taught

Computational methods in the humanities (graduate and undergraduate)

Structure of Russian for language teachers (graduate and undergraduate)

Medieval Rus' (graduate)

Russian Fairy Tales (undergraduate)

Elementary Russian I and II (undergraduate)


2014 (Editor, with Michael Flier and Cynthia Vakareliyska) Philology broad and deep: In memoriam Horace G. Lunt. Bloomington: Slavica Publishers.

2010 Raffensperger, Christian A. and David J. Birnbaum. “Mapping history: using technology to showcase medieval family interconnectivity.” Russian history 37 (2010): 305–21.

2008 (principal author; with Ralph Cleminson, Sebastian Kempgen, and Kiril Ribarov) “Character set standardization for early Cyrillic writing after Unicode 5.1, with an associated table of Early Cyrillic characters in Unicode.” Scripta & e-Scripta 6 (2008): 161–93.

2006 “Macro-level and micro-level structural analysis of mixed-content miscellanies.” In: Studia Caroliensia: Papers in linguistics and folklore in honor of Charles E. Gribble, ed. Robert A. Rothstein, Ernest Scatton, and Charles E. Townsend, 41–56. Bloomington: Slavica.

2003 (Associate Editor) The Povest′ vremennykh let: an interlinear collation and paradosis, ed. Donald Ostrowski. [Harvard library of Early Ukrainian literature. Texts. Vol 10, parts 1–3.] Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Research Interests

Digital humanities, esp. computational philology

Medieval Slavic manuscripts and texts

Slavic historical linguistics

Representative Conference Presentations

2013 (with Lara Sels) “Editing the Bdinski sbornik as a multilayered reality.” “Studying Stanislav’s reading menologion: issues and approaches” conference, Kliment Ohridski University, Sofia, May 22, 2013.

2013 “Orthographic variation and medieval manuscript collation.” Sixteenth Midwest Medieval Slavic Workshop, University of Chicago, Chicago. April 19, 2013.

2013 (with Sam Depretis and Erin Harrington) “Automating the identification of the place of stress in Russian.” Midwest Slavic Conference, Ohio State University, Columbus, April 6, 2013.

2012 (with P.J. Grosse) “Quantitative codicology: some statistical considerations.” “Methods and means for digital analysis of classical and medieval texts and manuscripts” conference, Leuven, Belgium, April 2012.

2012 “Saints in medieval Slavic calendars as Facebook friends.” With Cynthia Vakareliyska, Zoe Borovsky, and James Danowski. AATSEEL annual conference, Seattle, January 2012.