September 2015

“Key Trends in Digital Humanities – How the Digital Humanities Challenge the Idea of the Humanities.” Siberian Federal University, 25 September 2015.

  • Abstract: What are the digital humanities? And how do such key methods in the digital humanities as data mining, mapping, visualization, social network analysis, and topic modeling make an essential difference in the idea of the humanities? Using examples of digital humanities research, Alan Liu speculates on the large questions that confront the humanities in the face of computational media–most importantly, questions about the nature and function of interpretive “meaning.”

“N + 1: A Plea for Cross-Domain Data in the Digital Humanities.” Siberian Federal University, 21 September 2015.

  • Abstract: In experimenting with text analysis, machine learning, visualization, and other methods, digital humanists often study materials collected from specific segments of the human documentary record–for example: a study corpus consisting just of one of the following at a time: novels, poems, letters, newspapers, historical maps, crime records, political speeches, etc. Such corpora also tend to be tuned to the specific domain of a scholar’s expertise (e.g., novels of a particular century and nation). In this short, speculative talk, Liu asks: what could be gained methodologically and theoretically by deliberately hybridizing domains–for example, pairing any two or three kinds, periods, or nationalities of materials in a controlled way? What would be involved, in other words, in giving digital humanities corpora some of the mixed quality of their uncanny doubles (alike yet dissimilar): “archives” in the strict sense and “corpora” in the corpus linguistics sense?
            The talk concludes with a presentation of aspects of the “WhatEvery1Says” research project (topic modeling public discourse about the humanities) that bear on the theme of cross-domain knowledge.