Jessica Marie Otis

Jessica Marie Otis

Jessica Marie Otis

Assistant Professor

European History: British history, early modern history, history of science and mathematics, digital history

Dr. Jessica Otis is an Assistant Professor of History and the Director of Public Projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. She received her MS in Mathematics and PhD in History from the University of Virginia, and spent four years in the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries as a CLIR-DLF Postdoctoral Fellow and Digital Humanities Specialist. Her research focuses on the cultural history of mathematics, plague, and cryptography in early modern England, and she has particular methodological expertise in network analysis. She has a deep interest in how to make digital humanities projects more accessible and long-term sustainable. In her spare time, she renovates houses and spoils cats.

This fall I am teaching HIST 390: Clio Wired: Tech & the Tudors (online) and HIST 388/395: The Scientific Revolution (hybrid, mostly online with a few in-person sessions).

Current Research

My current major research project is Death by Numbers, an NSF-funded project on the early modern London bills of mortality that aims to study the quantification of mortality in 17th and early 18th c. London. The project team includes numerous student research assistants who are pursuing independent research projects on the bills and whose work can be found on the project's blog via

Selected Publications

Jessica Marie Otis, "'Follow the Money?' Funding and Digital Sustainability," in Project Resiliency in the Digital Humanities Special Issue, ed. by Martin Holmes, J. Matthew Huculak, and Janelle Jenstad, Digital Humanities Quarterly 17, no. 1 (2023),

Jessica Marie Otis, "What's In a Name? Six Degrees of Francis Bacon and Named-Entity Recognition," in Matt Davis and Colin Wilder, eds. New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies III (Iter and the University of Chicago Press, December 2022): 237-256.

Matt Burton, Matthew J. Lavin, Jessica Otis, and Scott B. Weingart, “Digits: Two Reports on New Units of Scholarly Publication,” Journal of Electronic Publishing 22, no. 1 (April 2020), doi: 10.3998/3336451.0022.105.

John Ladd, Jessica Otis, Christopher N. Warren, and Scott Weingart, “Exploring and Analyzing Network Data with Python,” Programming Historian (September 2017).

Jessica Otis, “‘Set Them To the Cyphering Schoole’: Reading, Writing and Arithmetical Education, circa 1540-1700,” Journal of British Studies 56, no. 3 (July 2017), doi: 10.1017/jbr.2017.59

Jessica Marie Otis, “‘Sportes and Pastimes, done by Number’: Mathematical Games in Early Modern England,” in Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, Word Games, Mind Games, ed. by Allison Levy (Medieval Institute Publications: 2017).

Christopher N. Warren, Daniel Shore, Jessica Otis, Lawrence Wang, Mike Finegold, and Cosma Shalizi, “Six Degrees of Francis Bacon: A Statistical Method for Reconstructing Large Historical Social Networks,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 10, no. 3 (2016),

For my full publications and presentations list, see my website

Courses Taught


HIST 324/HIST 388/HIST 395: Tudor and Stuart England (spring 2019 syllabus)

HIST 387/MATH 400: History of Mathematics

HIST 388/HIST 395: Scientific Revolution

HIST 390: The Digital Past: Tech & the Tudors


HIST 696: Clio Wired (fall 2021 course website)

HIST 635: Early Modern England (spring 2022 course website)

HIST 615/635: The Scientific Revolution (spring 2023 course website)

HIST 635: Renaissance and Reformation

Early Modern Worlds

Graduate readings and examinations:

Digital history (incl. Digital Public History)

Atlantic history

Early modern Britain

Early modern Europe

History of science


Ph.D. in History, University of Virginia, 2013

M.A. in History, University of Virginia, 2007

M.S. in Mathematics, University of Virginia, 2005

B.S. in Mathematics and History, College of William & Mary, 2003