The first of the Department's New Scholars in Digital Humanities seminars and the second of this semester's AHRI Interdisciplinary Seminars will be given by Dr Luke Blaxill (History and Digital Humanities)
'Quantifying the Language of British Politics, 1880-1914' Dr Luke Blaxill (History and Digital Humanities)
Abstract: This paper explores the power, potential, and challenges of studying historical political speeches using a specially constructed multi-million word corpus via quantitative computer software. The techniques used – inspired particularly by Corpus Linguists – are almost entirely novel in the field of political history, an area where research into language is conducted nearly exclusively qualitatively. The paper argues that a corpus gives us the crucial ability to investigate matters of historical interest (e.g. the political rhetoric of imperialism, Ireland, and class) in a more empirical and systematic manner, giving us the capacity to measure scope, typicality, and power in a massive text like a national general election campaign which it would be impossible to read in entirety.
The paper also discusses some of the main arguments against this approach which are commonly presented by critics, and reflects on the challenges faced by quantitative language analysis in gaining more widespread acceptance and recognition within the field.
Chair: Professor Willard McCarty
The seminar will be followed by drinks in Anatomy Museum from 8pm.
Seminars in the New Scholars in the Digital Humanities series are given by postdoctoral students shortly after successful completion of the PhD in Digital Humanities programme. Dr Blaxill's seminar is the first to be offered.
Seminars in the AHRI Interdisciplinary Seminar series are given by postdoctoral students across the School. They aim to disseminate and foster interdisciplinary research in the School, and to provide a hub for postdocs on the Strand in Arts and Humanities and related subjects. Doctoral students and staff are also very welcome to attend. Postdocs interested in giving a paper should contact email@example.com.