Digital Humanities in the English Department
Digital Humanities combines methodologies from traditional humanities disciplines with tools provided by digital publishing and computing. A number of faculty within the Department of English are doing groundbreaking work in the field. The following lists some of the more recent projects.
DocuScope is software for rhetorical text analysis developed by David Kaufer, professor of English and Suguru Ishizaki, professor of English.
Kaufer created a dictionary, consisting of over 40 million linguistic patterns of English classified into over 100 categories of rhetorical effects, while Suguru designed and implemented the analysis and visualization software, which can annotate a corpus of text against any dictionary of regular strings that are classified into a hierarchy of rhetorical effects.
Ph.D. in Rhetoric student, Justin Mando, is using DocuScope for his dissertation that looks at how participants in Marcellus Shale public hearings use their personal experience to argue for or against hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
“I use DocuScope to analyze the individual speeches of participants in these hearings to help me find patterns of language used to argue for or against fracking,” said Mando. “DocuScope helped me find that both pro- and anti-frackers create vicarious experiences of proximity as a counter-strategy.”
The DocuScope dictionary is being used by Ubiqu+lty 1.0, a Web-accessible text visualization application from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, exposing the tool to worldwide users. Learn more about DocuScope.
Six Degrees of Francis Bacon
Chris Warren, professor of English, co-founded Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, which aims to be the broadest, most accessible source of who knew whom in early modern Britain. They released a beta site in 2015 that allows scholars and students seeking historical context can to search for any individual who lived in Britain between 1500 and 1700. Then, they can generate a network map showing two degrees of separation.
Researchers can ask how any two individuals' networks intersected, or query the overlap of two historical groups like civil war Parliamentarians and epic poets. Those who create accounts can download rich datasets and add names and relationships, allowing Six Degrees to grow even more useful over time.
The site foregrounds the need to integrate scholarship on women and non-elite networks into broader scholarly discussions by presenting less studied individuals in attention-grabbing red.