How do disciplines change?

How do disciplines change?

Over the past few years I’ve become interested in better understanding how my own discipline works. As someone whose work has changed considerably over the past decade, it’s probably a predictable response. In one sense, it is about asking, How do I fit in? On…

The scientization of literary studies

The scientization of literary studies

In a new work out, I have teamed-up with my collaborator Stephania DeGaetano-Ortlieb to try to model what we call “the scientization of literary study.” The study of literature has historically been seen as a scholarly practice that is distinct from the natural sciences. Literary…

Are academics more unequal than athletics? A new collaboration by Brian Powell

Are academics more unequal than athletics? A new collaboration by Brian Powell

Our latest lab collaboration was created by McGill undergraduate Brian Powell. As a college basketball fan, he was interested in whether the high levels of institutional inequality within academic publishing and hiring that we have been seeing would also hold true within college athletics. Did…

Introducing The Fish and the Painting: a new open access handbook-in-progress on data-driven humanities research

Introducing The Fish and the Painting: a new open access handbook-in-progress on data-driven humanities research

It’s like hitting a painting with a fish. This was the quip that a well-known British novelist made when asked about using computation to study literature. You could, but why would you? I think it’s becoming increasingly clear to people all of the ways data…

Does the decline of gender within literary studies matter?

Does the decline of gender within literary studies matter?

A little while back I posted on the unmoving ratio between male/female pronouns in a data set of ~60,000 articles in literary studies. The ratio has been stable at about 2:1 since the mid-1990s. While pronouns do not tell us everything we need to know…

On Colons, or Standardization in Literary Studies

On Colons, or Standardization in Literary Studies

Sometimes things don’t need to be complicated. Have you ever wondered about the convention of using colons in titles of academic articles? As in, “Here’s my big idea: now let me narrow it down for you”? Well, I’ve never actually seen something that exhibits this…

The Coding Turn in the Humanities

The Coding Turn in the Humanities

As part of my new book, I have made the code and all derived text data freely available online. The underlying text data has been shared as far as copyright restrictions would allow. As I mentioned in my initial post, this entailed a massive amount…

The great ________ novel: How scholars classify the novel

The great ________ novel: How scholars classify the novel

Ever since Fotis Jannidis posted a graph on novel classification a few years ago I have been inspired to do something similar in English. What are the ways in which scholars over the past half-century have classified “the novel”? Using a collection of over 60,000…