Conference Agenda

LP-20: Long Paper Session
Thursday, 10/Aug/2017:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: Laura Estill
Location: Arts 260
Arts Building 853 rue Sherbrooke ouest


Corpora and Complex Networks as Cultural Critique: Investigating Race and Gender Bias in Graphic Narratives

Alexander Dunst, Rita Hartel

University of Paderborn, Germany

This paper reports and reflects on efforts to integrate cultural critique into a DH project that assembles and analyzes a corpus of book-length comics, or graphic narratives. We argue that the analysis of socially-relevant issues such as gender, race, and class should be central to digital scholarship that aims to become accessible to the wider public and appear relevant to humanities scholars at large. For this to happen, cultural criticism needs to be integrated into digital projects from the very beginning. Thus, our research takes up calls to “design for difference” and to develop visualizations that “enact [the] humanistic properties” of complexity and contradiction (McPherson and Drucker, 242).

The Seven Words of the Virgin: Identifying change in the discourse context of the concept of virginity in Early Modern English

Susan Fitzmaurice2, Marc Alexander1, Justyna Robinson3, Michael Pidd2, Iona Hine2, Seth Mehl2, Fraser Dallachy1, Matthew Groves2, Kathryn Rogers2, Brian Aitken1

1University of Glasgow, United Kingdom; 2University of Sheffield, United Kingdom; 3University of Sussex, United Kingdom

The Linguistic DNA of Modern Thought project (LDNA) is an AHRC-funded collaborative project between the universities of Sheffield, Glasgow, and Sussex which is using automatic processes to investigate the emergence and development of concepts in the 15th to 18th centuries. This paper discusses results from a branch of the project which is investigating incidences of rapid change in the size of semantic categories as represented in The Historical Thesaurus of English. It builds groupings of words related to the concept of Virginity, utilising processed time-slice sub-corpora of manually transcribed Early English Books Online (EEBO-TCP) texts as ‘snapshots’ of the discourse context for these words in Early Modern English print. Comparison of the word groupings suggests that a largely religious context of use opens out to a general secular and then a literary context, implying that society’s discussion of the concept increased dramatically in the period.

How to Close Read a Topic Model: TWiC Reads Emily Dickinson's Fascicles

Jonathan Ilan Armoza

New York University, United States of America

Acknowledging multiple scales of information in models of textual corpora and the relationships between them trouble the dichotomy of distant and close reading. It also helps us realize the difference between the close attention we pay to our individual objects of study and how large-scale models view those individual objects. "Topic Words in Context" or "TWiC" is a highly interactive and playful visualization that enables scholars to view the multiple scales of topic models and the relationships between them – from "big" data all the way down to individual texts. TWiC also provides the ability to reinsert texts into their original publication contexts, merging the model's assessments with human-created orderings. For this talk I will demonstrate how such views of a topic model can be used to close read the fascicle books of Emily Dickinson, using the model's assessments of her poems as well as those of past humanities critics.