How to Do Things With Millions of Words

TWO PUBLIC LECTURES ON DIGITAL HUMANITIES

co-presented by

Green College (UBC), The Early Modern Conversions Project (McGill University) and the Cultural Evolution of Religion Consortium (UBC)

THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES: SOME CONTEXTS, CONCEPTS AND INITIATIVES

Ray Siemens, Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria
Coach House, Green College, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road
5:00-6:15 pm, Wednesday 2 November

This introductory lecture lays out some key contexts and concepts in the digital humanities, focusing on themes such as social knowledge creation, consensus-driven pedagogical communities and collaborative research partnership. Examples are drawn from the speaker’s experience as director of several digital humanities interventions into research, scholarship and teaching. Ray Siemens’ publications include (as co- editor), A Companion to Digital Humanities (2004, 2015), A Companion to Digital Literary Studies (2007) and Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology (2014).

HUNDREDS, THOUS ANDS OR MILLIONS OF WORDS: FITTING OUR METHODS TO THE QUESTION

Ted Underwood, Professor of English and Information Sciences, University of Illinois
The Lew Forum, Peter A. Allard School of Law, 1822 East Mall
12:00-1:00 pm, Friday 4 November

Many humanists rarely used numbers before discovering algorithms (like topic modeling) that are suited to exploring enormous libraries. As a result, our conversations about method tend to be organized by
a strong opposition between “close” and “distant” approaches, aimed at radically different scales. But interesting things can be done at every scale of analysis – from a single passage, to dozens or hundreds of texts, to millions of volumes. This lecture surveys that range of scales before dwelling on some approaches suited to the middle of the spectrum. Ted Underwood is the author of The Work of the Sun: Literature, Science, and Political Economy (2005) and Why Literary Periods Mattered (2013). His next book will be entitled The Horizon of Literary History.

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