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Distant Reading/Graphesis Research Workshops, led by the English Department

September 5, 2017 by Kristen Mapes

Distant Reading/Graphesis
Coordinators: Dr. Steve Rachman and Laura McGrath
Find out more: english.msu.edu/graduate/research-workshops

This workshop is for faculty and graduate students who wish to learn more about two important turns in literary studies and digital humanities: distant reading and graphesis.

Over the two semesters of this academic year we will engage the techniques and theories operating behind these analytical approaches. This workshop will 1.) discuss current work in the fields of distant reading and graphical analysis, 2.) share examples of works-in-progress by scholars on and off campus, and 3.) introduce relevant technologies and programs (Voyant, Gephi, etc., tailored to the interests of participants).

For the distant reading portion of the Workshop, key questions include: Do literary genres possess distinctive features at all possible scales of analysis and to what extent can these features be measured? Should the DH practices associated with distant reading be considered as “science” or “humanities”? How can the techniques of distant reading be applied to questions of gender, class, race, or other problems of identity, representation, and diversity?

The graphic mediation elements of the workshop will deal with a growing array of visual forms of knowledge production and consumption as they intersect with literary forms, and we will be investigating the ways in which diverse fields such as graphic design, mathematics, geography, the natural sciences, rhetoric, and philosophy and disciplines of the digital humanities, rhetoric, art history, architecture, and media studies have transformed and will transform literary study. As with the distant reading parts of the workshop, we will be trying to think through these interdisciplinary questions in terms of critical diversity.

Fall Semester events [NOTE DATE CHANGES]. All events take place in Linton Hall, Room 120

• Meeting 1, September 14, September 19 4:30-6:00. Histories of Distant Reading. Reading, “Graphs” from Graphs, Maps, and Trees by Franco Moretti (full text available online through MSU Library); “A Genealogy of Distant Reading” by Ted Underwood.
• Meeting 2, October 19, October 17, 4:30-6:00. Graphical Analysis and Machine Reading. Reading: selections from “Graphesis” by Joanna Drucker (to be circulated via email), and from “Comparative Textual Media” by Katherine Hayles (full text available online through MSU Library).
• Meeting 3, November 16, November 14, 4:30-6:00. Computational Hermeneutics, Computational Trends with Andrew Piper (guest via skype). Reading, “Novel Devotions” by Andrew Piper. Tentative Voyant workshop.
• Meeting 4, November 30, December 5, 4:30-6:00. Presentation of Works in Progress