Calendar of Events

Spring 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Matthew Jockers (English, University of Nebraska)
Matthew Jockers
Matthew Jockers,

Around the World in 3,500 Novels
5:30 pm Curtin 118
Supported by a grant from the UWM Digital Future initiative

How do literary expressions and attitudes toward slavery in the nineteenth century change according to fictional setting? Do novels set in Ireland present a perspective towards landlords and tenants that is similar or different from what we find in novels set in America or England? How do the answers to these and similar questions fluctuate over time or according to author gender or author nationality?

For this study, Matthew Jockers uses tools and techniques from text mining, natural language processing, machine learning, and statistics to address questions such as these and to identify and study how specific places, themes, and sentiments find synchronous or asynchronous expression within the nineteenth century literary imagination. Using data mined from a large corpus of ~3500 works of British, Irish, and American fiction, this macroanalysis seeks to expose persistent links between geographic settings, themes and sentiments and to then chart the ways in which places (such as Ireland) are constructed, or ‘invented,’ within the literary imagination of the century.

UWM Digital Future image
Digital Future Workshop with Matthew Jockers
Text Analysis and Topic Modeling in the Humanities
Friday, April 19
Please register via
9:00 am - 4:30 pm (lunch included), Curtin 108

Text collections such as the HathiTrust Digital Library and Google Books have provided scholars in many fields with convenient access to their materials in digital form, but text analysis at the scale of millions or billions of words still requires the use of tools and methods that may initially seem complex or esoteric to researchers in the humanities.

Text Analysis and Topic Modeling in the Humanities will provide a practical introduction to text analysis with a special emphasis on topic modeling. The workshop will cover data ingestion, data preparation, data preprocessing, part of speech tagging, topic modeling and data analysis. The main computing environment for the course will be R, “the open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics.”

While no programming experience is required, students should have basic computer skills and be familiar with their computer’s file system and be comfortable entering commands in a command line environment.

Detailed workshop schedule and list of materials

The workshop is free, but please register by emailing and indicating 1) your departmental affiliation 2) why you are interested in attending the workshop. This information will help Professor Jockers better address the specific needs of the participants.

Matthew Jockers’ research and teaching is focused on computational text analysis, specifically an approach he calls “macroanalysis.” He was the co-founder and the co-director of Stanford’s Literary Lab before moving to University of Nebraska’s English department. He is the author of a forthcoming book, "Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History." New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education has covered his research.

More on Macroanalysis

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