Digital Humanities in the English Department
Digital Humanities combines methodologies from traditional humanities disciplines with tools provided by digital publishing and computing.
Faculty in the Department of English are doing groundbreaking work in the field and our Department offers a specialized Digital Humanities Minor.
The human experience that is traditionally at the core of a humanities education is being dramatically transformed by the emergence of big data, digital platforms, computational thinking, and digital connectivity. Spurred by such developments, the English Department's minor in Humanities Analytics (HumAn) will train students in the processes involved in analyzing, digitizing, quantifying, and visualizing different types of humanities and cultural phenomena, including printed books, manuscripts, historical records, art, music, and film.
Learn more about the HumAn Minor here.
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.
Chris Warren, professor of English, co-founded Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, a digital reconstruction of the early modern social network that scholars and students from all over the world can collaboratively expand, revise, curate, and critique. Unlike published prose, Six Degrees is extensible, collaborative, and interoperable: extensible in that people and associations can always be added, modified, developed, or, removed; collaborative in that it synthesizes the work of many scholars; interoperable in that new work on the network is put into immediate relation to previously studied relationships.
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.