We’re extremely excited to announce that our new essay, “Literary Pattern Recognition: Modernism Between Close Reading and Machine Learning,” is now out at Critical Inquiry! The essay seeks to model a new form of interpretation that merges critical and computational forms of reading. We use this method to write a new history of Orientalism and Modernism, while remaining reflexive about the limits of the quantitative methods we deploy. We welcome any thoughts or comments!
Hoyt Long and Richard Jean So did a video interview with Critical Inquiry regarding our forthcoming article: “Literary Pattern Recognition: Modernism Between Close Reading and Machine Learning” (Winter 2016). We had a chance to talk about our work in the digital humanities, as well as offer some general thoughts on the uses of computation to study culture and literature, while remaining reflexive and critical about the technology we use. LINK
The website for our upcoming “Cultural Analytics: Computational Approaches to the Study of Literature” conference is now live! It includes speaker information, schedule, and paper abstracts. May 23-24, University of Chicago.
Conference website: https://culturalanalyticscollective.wordpress.com/
Hoyt Long and Richard Jean So of the Chicago Text Lab will be presenting new work at the conference, “Scale and Value: New and Digital Approaches to Literary History,” on May 15-16. The conference is organized by Marshall Brown, Jim English, and Ted Underwood, and hosted at the University of Washington. Papers will be published in a special issue of Modern Language Quarterly of the same title. We’re very excited to join Mark McGurl, Heather Love, Sharon Marcus, and other speakers.
Conference website: scaleandvalue.tumblr.com
Graduate Student Caucus: Call for Applicants
The University of Chicago will be hosting a major conference on the digital humanities on May 22-23, 2015. The purpose of the conference is to bring together leading scholars in computational literary and cultural studies for two days of discussion and work sharing. This group of scholars is joined by a common interest in bringing new methods in computer science and data analysis to bear on the study of literature and history. Participants include: Franco Moretti, Ted Underwood, Meredith Martin, Andrew Piper, Natalie Houston, Matthew Wilkens, Matthew Jockers, Marissa Gemma, Ryan Cordell, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, David Smith, Tanya Clement, Mark Algee-Hewitt, and Ryan Heuser.
As part of this conference, we will have a graduate student caucus composed of advanced PhD students from both the University of Chicago and other institutions. The task of this caucus will be to engage with each day’s discussion and provide a report or series of comments at the conference’s conclusion. We have received funding to invite 4 outside graduate students to join the caucus. Up to $1000 of funding is budgeted for each student.
Interested students should submit a 1-page application by February 15th, 2015. You can find the application form at the link below. Results will be announced by March 1st. Proposals should briefly describe the applicant’s interest in the digital humanities and any previous work in this area. Expertise in computation and experience with DH projects is welcome but not required.
Submission Form for Graduate Student Caucus
Hoyt Long and Richard Jean So of the Chicago Text Lab, along with Ted Underwood (English, University of Illinois), published a popular DH piece in Slate. We used computational methods to study the evolution of representations of money in British and American novels across the 19th and 20th centuries. The piece is also a response to and critique of Thomas Piketty’s important study of income inequality, Capital in the 21st Century.
On May 22-23, 2015, the Global Literary Networks group will host a major conference at the University of Chicago called “Cultural Analytics: Computational Approaches to the Study of Culture.” The event will bring together faculty and graduate students working at the intersection of literary history and applied computational analysis. This field has been growing for some time, but there have been few opportunities for a sustained discussion of the methodological challenges and opportunities afforded by new digital tools and techniques. Bringing together scholars who specialize in a diverse range of literatures and time periods, this conference aspires to galvanize the formation of “cultural analytics” as a distinct and coherent sub-field in literary studies.
- Global Literary Networks Group (Hoyt Long, Tom McEnaney, Richard So)
- Stanford Literary Lab (Franco Moretti, Mark Algee-Hewitt, Ryan Heuser)
- Northeastern University Viral Texts Lab (Ryan Cordell, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, David Smith)
- Tanya Clement (University of Texas)
- Marissa Gemma (Max-Planck Institute)
- Natalie Houston (University of Houston)
- Matthew Jockers (University of Nebraska)
- Meredith Martin (Princeton)
- Andrew Piper (McGill)
- Matthew Wilkins (Notre Dame)
- Ted Underwood (University of Illinois)
- Amy Hungerford (Yale)
Participants will present work in progress, addressing both the concrete technical challenges of computational methods and the theoretical implications of merging them with more traditional approaches. To further enhance the collaborative ethos of the event, we will also host a Graduate Student Caucus so that younger scholars will have an opportunity to contribute to these conversations and share their own ideas about the impact of this emerging new sub-field. More details will be available in the coming months at the conference’s official website.
“Cultural Analytics” is generously supported by the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.
The Global Literary Networks Project will be taking part in the new “Digital Exhibitions” event at the 2014 meeting of the Modernist Studies Association. The event will be from 9am to 1pm, on Friday, November 7. Please stop by our exhibit to talk with us about the project, explore some of our datasets on modernist poetry, and hear about current case studies. A general description of the project, and of the book that will result from this research (Patterns Taken for Wonder: A Computational History of Modernism), can be found on our website.
Team member Tom McEnaney recently presented this new working paper at our Data as Critique conference (figures available here). The paper represents the first work to come out of the lab that examines the application of computational methods to the Latin American context. Using a dataset of more than 8,000 poems published across 50 Latin American journals between 1910 and 1945, McEnaney shows how network analysis reorients our understanding of intra-regional literary dynamics under modernism while generating new cultural maps of the Americas.
On May 9th, the Global Literary Networks team will host a one-day conference bringing together new scholarship on the history and sociology of global culture. The conference highlights research that cuts across the traditional division of qualitative methods (hermeneutics, historicism) from quantitative or data-driven ones (text-mining, network analysis). A major goal of the conference is to explore how large-scale computational techniques can extend an already century old dialogue between scholars in the humanistic and social sciences (e.g., literature and linguistics; history and statistics; art and sociology).
“Data as Critique” is an opportunity to bring our project into contact with scholars from a variety of fields—including sociology, computer science, and comparative literature—who are working on related questions of scale. Some major questions we hope to explore include: how do new computational tools, such as natural language processing, alter our conception of what “texts” or cultural objects are? How can we reconcile traditional human forms of interpretation with the epistemology of computers and machine algorithms? How can we scale up analytical attention to individual aesthetic texts so as to perceive broader patterns and systems of relation and thought?
The conference will consist of two sessions: one devoted to “networks” and the other focused on “texts.” Each session will include three presentations followed by a roundtable discussion led by two University of Chicago faculty. The goal of each roundtable will be to brainstorm and extend the ideas of the talks in an informal way, both among panelists and with the audience. In sum, the conference aims to create a space where faculty and students from the humanities, sciences, and social sciences can engage in dialogue about data as a critical method for the interpretation of culture.
For more details about the conference (including abstracts), or to register to attend, please visit the following site. The conference is funded by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. Additional funding for Global Literary Networks comes from the University of Chicago Knowledge Lab.
- Michael Bourdaghs, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Chicago
- James Evans, Sociology, Chicago
- Frances Ferguson, English, Chicago
- Jacob Foster, Sociology, UCLA
- Jennifer Lena, Sociology, Columbia
- Hoyt Long, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, Chicago
- Thomas McEnaney, Comparative Literature, Cornell
- Andrew Piper, German Studies, McGill
- Elizabeth Pontikes, Booth School of Business, Chicago
- Richard Jean So, English, Chicago
- Denis Tenen, English, Columbia