Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DH09: 3 Presentations: Corpus Analysis and Literary History; Predicting New Worlds from Newer Words; Our American Archives Partnership

1) 'Corpus Analysis and Literary History' by Matthew Wilkens at Rice University. What is literary criticism for? Old view: the true, the good, and the beautiful. New view: social systems, symptoms and structures.

What effects result from this shift? New objects, old methods: media studies, cultural studies, canon changes; theory.

Certain tensions: close analysis methods don't scale well; theoretical methods require extrapolation from limited cases.

Example: periodization and literary history
Why study it? Historical connections to particular changes; metaphorical similarity to other kinds of change. What's the standard view? Punctuated equilibrium, Kuhnian paradigms.

Test case: Model System and result
American Late Modernism: 25 years after WWII. Allegory and event: allegory as mechanism of paradigm change; explains how events stabilize and propagate.

Allegory and events--problems: selection bias and generalizable.

Corpus analysis: advantages
historical breadth
genre and domain breadth
In principle, no selection bias

Three potential corpora: MONK Project, Project Gutenberg, and Open Content Alliance/Google.

Classical allegory is rhetorically and grammatically simple, short and limited set of tropes.

Tag the MONK corpus using MorphAdorner.

Future research areas:
larger corpora, metadata difficulties, word and n-gram frequencies, machine learning.

Matthew Wilkins website:

2)'Predicting New Worlds from newer words: Lexical borrowings in French' by Paula Horwath Chesley, R. Harald Baayen.

Of all the new words out there, which of these new words will stick around in the lexicon? We did a case study in lexical borrowing in French. Le Monde corpus has .081% of all tokens are new borrowings. We compared Le Monde and Le Figaro. Conclusions: role of frequency and dispersion in predicting lexical entrenchment, lexical entrenchment of borrowings is highly context-dependent, and lexical entrenchment of borrowings is predictable. I have a handout for interested parties.

3) 'Our Americas Archives Partnership(OAAP): charting new cultural Geographies' by Lisa Spiro from Rice University. Collaboration among scholars, librarians, IT folks, etc. Transnational level: what roles of collaborative, comparative, border-crossing research play in this reconfigured field? Access to open collections, new research tools, and an interactive research community, and pedagogical innovation. The partners are Rice University, University of Maryland (MITH) and Instituto Mora, Mexico City. The collections: Early Americans Digital Archive (based at MITH), Americas Collection 1811-1920, and the Instituto Mora has social history collections. Federation of content is utilized. Tools being developed: view search results in SIMILE's Timeline interface. Challenges are to get other institutions to participate. Rice is currently hosting Inistuto Mora's digital collections.

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