Congratulations to this year’s .txtLAB interns!

The .txtLAB internship program held its end of the semester presentations this past week. Projects ranged from the study of prize-winning novels, comparisons of nineteenth-century histories, novels, and philosophy in three languages, the construction of an iPython notebook for reliably extracting social networks from novels, and finally a study of citation networks between supervisors and their students.

Our questions this semester focused primarily around the genre of the novel, what makes it unique and what ways  it differentiates itself to serve different social purposes. When we look at history and the novel, what are the differences between true and imagined narratives? When we think about philosophy and the novel, what are the ways novels represent judgment or consciousness? And when we think about different cultural categories like “bestsellers” and “prizewinners,” do these groups represent different ways of telling stories that appeal to different kinds of readerships or make different claims about imagined narratives?

The social network project is part of on-going efforts by the lab to find ways of reliably modelling social patterns within novels and to understand how imaginary social worlds mirror or differ from our real-world counterparts. The project on citation networks represents a new focus of the lab on questions of disciplinarity and knowledge-production. In this project, we’re interested in asking to what extent students’ referential framework (citations) are intertwined with their supervisors’ — and then what this interconnection means. What kind of intellectual environments do we see when students’ and supervisors’ are more entangled versus less?

During the semester-long internship, students were responsible for the entire research process of data collection, preparation, analysis, and presentation. They will be writing guest blog posts here to share their findings. More to come later.