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.
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.
"Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street," composed in 1853, is perhaps Herman Melville's most famous short story. It's certainly his most inscrutable.
Lauren Klein is an assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. Her research interests include early American literature and culture, food studies, media studies, and the digital humanities. Her writing has appeared, most recently, in Early American Literature, American Literature, and American Quarterly. She has taught at Brooklyn College and at Macaulay Honors College, both branches of the City University of New York. Between 2007 and 2008, she worked as an educational technology consultant for One Laptop per Child, a non-profit aimed at bringing low-cost laptops to children in the developing world.