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Cultural Historian’s Toolbox (PhD Core Course 2): Digital Text Analysis – icw Huygens Institute and OSL

Course description

Scholars working in computational literary studies make use of computer software that helps them to analyze digital textual data. Software can support the exploration of a much larger amount of data in systematic ways than was possible before. In this course, students will get introduced to the most important current approaches in computational literary studies, ranging from the analysis of style and methods for the verification and attribution of authorship to various forms of ‘distant reading’ and discourse analysis.

The first part of the course explores the new horizons and possibilities as well as the limitations of computational approaches in literary studies. Several computational tools will be demonstrated such as concordance software that can be used for discourse analytical approaches and specialized R-scripts for authorship attribution and stylistic analysis. The questions to be addressed in the first four sessions of the seminar include: How can different authors be distinguished from each other using computational tools? In which ways do their writing styles exactly differ? What are the options for computer-assisted discourse analysis? What kinds of reasoning and logic play a role when computational tools are applied and what are their epistemological implications? How can we evaluate the results of the new methods and techniques? Each class, a new tool will be introduced and the students will learn the basics of their use hands-on.

The second part of the course is optional and more practical. In two workshop-like hands-on meetings students will conduct small research projects of their own. In this way, they will learn to use the computational tools themselves and gain practical experience with their possibilities and limitations. The research projects can be devoted to the cases presented in the first part of the course but also be proposed by the students themselves.

Organiser: prof. Karina van Dalen-Oskam (UvA).

Course objectives

  • Students learn to employ empirical and computational methods in literary studies, including the selection of tools and the reflection on their possibilities and
  • Students get an overview of international discussions in the fields of computational literary studies and digital humanities and learn to relate their research to these
  • Students learn to reflect on the relation of research questions and digital methods in literary studies.

Course dates

To be announced

Credits

Students receive 3 EC for active participation (readings and small assignments) in the first four meetings and an additional 3 EC for participation in the hands-on sessions and the preparation of a final assignment (= paper of 3000 words).

Workload calculation

3 ECs (84 working hours) for first four classes plus assignments:
Contact hours = 12 hours
Assignments = 72 hours
The assignments will not be graded. All four assignments need to be handed in for the 3ECs to be awarded.
Students need to hand in all four assignments before they are allowed to take part in the second part of the course.
Optional: Additional 3 ECs (84 working hours) for two hands-on sessions plus paper:
Contact hours = 6 hours
Preparation = 76 hours
The first version of the paper will get detailed feedback, the second, final, version of the paper will be graded and the grade needs to be 5,5 or higher for the 3ECs to be awarded.

Registration for the event will open in early 2022 via the website of OSL.
PLEASE NOTE: When registering, please indicate (at remarks) whether you would like to attend the event onsite or online.