It is not a coincidence that distant reading does not deal well with gender, sexuality, or race. But if we re-commit ourselves to the project of exposing and interrogating power, we arrive potentially at a form of distant reading that is much more inclusive.
Henning Mankell's detective is always uneasy around those alien characters (the typographical kind).
In this exciting talk, David Mimno outlines the limitations and uses of representational modeling by employing examples from Minecraft, data on U.S. gun ownership, and 19th-century novels.
Applied linguist Susan Conrad looks to engineering writing to highlight differences between theoretical and practical communication.
Mark Algee-Hewitt, Ryan Heuser, and Franco Moretti of the Stanford Literary Lab present their research on the "natural habitat of topics": paragraphs.
Digital humanities have broken with the “human” and readerly scale, replacing it with the radical discontinuity of Micro and Mega: a promising change of landscape for which we haven’t yet found the right categories.
Ted Underwood provides a data-driven counterargument to Thomas Piketty's claim that specific references to money disappeared from literature after World War I.
I want to begin with the premise that literature is the data of literary studies. The OED tells us that the term “data,” from classical Latin, refers to “an item of information” and to “related items of (chiefly numerical) information considered collectively, typically obtained by scientific work and used for reference, analysis or calculation.” “Data” is the plural of “datum,” deriving from the Latin “dare,” which means to give.” Hence, “datum” and “data” refer not only to information but also (and more generally) to “something given or granted; something known or assumed as fact, and made the basis of reasoning.”
I want to begin by arguing that the current state of affairs with respect to “data” and “literature,” itself a mirror of the entire structure that organizes the cultural relationship between the digital humanities and literary criticism, is bad for proponents on both sides. I mean in the most general possible way, but here I want to focus especially on the antagonism between data-based analysis of literary texts, which has been called “distant reading,” and the more historically traditional reading practice of focusing on small units of meaning, which we call, pretty loosely, “close reading.”
In my time today, I would like to offer a set of provocations that, I hope, will allow us to expand our understanding of the nature of data, its uses, and its implications for literary study. These provocations number three, and they are each derived from that walking provocation, Thomas Jefferson.