A Digital Humanities Workshop co-presented by Green College (UBC), The Early Modern Conversions Project (McGill), and the Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium (UBC)
University of British Columbia, November 2 – 4, 2016
How to Do Things With Millions of Words will bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers for an intensive two-day meditation on the theoretical and technical challenges pertaining to macro-scale textual analysis. Participants at all levels of technical experience are warmly welcome! We aim to convene a robust, diverse conversation that will engage everyone from the merely curious to expert digital researchers. The list of contributors already slated to join us includes Ted Underwood (University of Illinois), Paul Yachnin (McGill), Ray Siemens (UVIC), Edward Slingerland (UBC), and Stéfan Sinclair (McGill).
On the theoretical side, participants will work toward a better understanding of the limits and optimal uses of technologies for measuring large corpora. How can researchers effectively integrate computer-assisted techniques with conventional forms of scholarship? What sort of questions and conclusions work best with this style of research? In what ways does macro-scale textual analysis count as a form of reading? Key areas of discussion on the technical side will include topic modeling, data mining, data visualization, and other techniques for interrogating, interpreting, or otherwise engaging with texts at the scale of millions (or even billions) of words.
The workshop organizers are Mark Vessey, Edward Slingerland, and Stephen Wittek.