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Digital & Computational Humanities – Tools & Thoughts

A seminar with the central focus on components of computational humanities that will be relevant to diverse actors with an interest in Digital Humanities, namely historical, geographical, social, and textual data.

2013.10.09 | Lars Pallesen

Date Thu 14 Nov
Time 10:45 17:00
Location Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, building 1483-3, room 312

A cornerstone of the Digital Humanities initiative, the teaching and research area concerned with computing and the disciplines of the humanities, is what can broadly be construed as computational humanities. Computational humanities are the construction and use of computational resources to study phenomena related to the Humanities and Arts. During the last decade or so, fast and powerful computers have become accessible to students and researcher alike. At the same time, researchers have become increasingly interconnected, and massive amounts of data are available on the web, enabling comparative and synthetic projects. Finally, software packages for managing and analyzing text and images as well as manipulating and representing historical, geographical, social and textual data have become widely available as freeware or low price commercial software. While these software packages used to be training intensive, today, we see advanced packages that can be controlled through simple graphical user interfaces, which have a short learning curve. Computational humanities, therefore, offer a whole new set of possibilities to the interested student and researcher.

In this seminar, the focus is on central components of computational humanities that will be relevant to diverse actors with an interest in Digital Humanities, namely historical, geographical, social, and textual data. Presenters will target practical and application-oriented aspects based on their own experience with different computational resources. The workshop welcomes both students and researchers and does not presuppose experience with computational humanities, only academic curiosity in the field.

NB: Please notice, registration required for participation in this event. Please click on this link to sign up:

auws.au.dk/forms/frm1Arrangement.aspx

PROGRAM

 10.45 – 11.15

Welcome to Digital & Computational Humanities – Tools & thoughts   

 

11.15 - 12.15

Pieter Francois: Adding Computing Power to a Humanist's Toolkit - An introduction to Digital Humanities

 

12.15-13.00

Lunch break

 

13.00-13.40

Kevin Feeny & Rob Brennan: Building and Publishing Social-Science Datasets on the Web with RDF and Linked Data

 

13.40-14.20

Peter Turchin: Now That You’ve Got These Data: What Do You Do with Them?

 

14.20-15.00

Lars Bach: Adaptive Software Agents - Simulation Models of Interacting Individuals and Groups

 

15.00-15.20

Coffee

 

15.20-16.00

Joseph Carroll: Graphing Jane Austen: Agonistic Structure in British Novels of the Nineteenth Century

 

16.00-16.40

Mathias Clasen: The Evolution of Horror Fiction: Biological, Cultural, and Experimental Considerations

 

16.40-17.00

Conclusion

 

 

 ABSTRACTS

 

 Pieter Francois

Title:

Adding Computing Power to a Humanist's Toolkit. An Introduction to Digital Humanities

 

Abstract:

The increasing availability of computing power is having a major impact on the Humanities. Historians, literary scholars and other humanists can now ask different types of questions and collect, analyze and visualize their data much faster and more effective. This presentation offers a whirlwind tour through some of the definitions of digital humanities (or DH), the major debates within the DH community, and the great potential and limitations of DH. The presentation also focuses on the opportunities and difficulties in bringing a humanities research tradition in diaologue with computer science. These topics will be illustrated by introducing a series of DH projects and case-studies, including the 'Seshat - Global History Databank' project and the 'Sample Generator for Digitized Texts' project.

 

 

 

Kevin Feeny & Rob Brennan

Title:

Building and Publishing Social-Science Datasets on the Web with RDF and Linked Data

Abstract: 
This presentation will provide a high-level, conceptual introduction to RDF and Linked Data and demonstrate how they can be used to build social science datasets through a case-data based upon our work with Professor Turchin on historical political violence datasets.  We will describe the full process of building a schema, selection of vocabularies, etc.  We will finish by giving a brief demonstration of our working DaCura platform, which contains a fully integrated set of tools for harvesting data from the web, to collection and management, all the way through to publication of attractive visualisations.    

 

 

 

Peter Turchin

Title:

Now That You’ve Got These Data: What Do You Do with Them?

 

Abstract:

Databases and Geographic Information Systems are very useful for gathering, storing, and visualizing data. But data can be used in other, more powerful ways: to increase our understanding of historical processes. This means that in order to squeeze as much information as possible from historical data, we need to analyze them using the methods of statistics. Although statistical analysis can be very technical and may require collaborating with a mathematical statistician, the basic principles are quite simple, and a major goal of my presentation is to demythologize statistics.

I will focus on two ways in which data can be used. The first one is looking for interesting patterns in the relationships between different variables. The trick here is to determine whether any observed pattern is real, or whether it is due to chance. The second one is determining which of the possible explanations of the observed patterns is more valid. I will illustrate both approaches with applications to actual historical questions.

 

 

 

Lars Bach

Title:

Adaptive Software Agents - Simulation Models of Interacting Individuals and Groups

 

Abstract:

TBA

 

 

 

Joseph Carroll

Title:

Graphing Jane Austen: Agonistic Structure in British Novels of the Nineteenth Century

 

Abstract:

Four researchers (Carroll, Gottschall, Johnson, and Kruger) put together a web-based questionnaire study about Victorian novels. We built a comprehensive model of human nature, with basic motives, personality factors, and basic emotions, and used that model to test predictions about the organization of characters in Victorian novels. If the model was adequate, it would give us clear results about the characters, and if the results were robust, that would provide evidence for the validity of the model. Along with these substantive knowledge aims, we wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to use empirical methods to produce high-quality information about literature—information that is both wide in scope and finely grained. Our chief conclusion was that the organization of characters in Victorian novels reflects evolved dispositions for deprecating dominance and thus affirming public norms of cooperative social endeavor.

 

 

 

Mathias Clasen

Title:

The Evolution of Horror Fiction: Biological, Cultural, and Experimental Considerations

 

Abstract:

TBA

Workshop
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comHumProgram.pdf (282 Kb)

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