On “Culturomics”

Tuesday, January 25
12:30 – 1:45 pm
Strozier Library
Graduate Conference Room 0005B

Last month Google released an “ngrams” tool that searches the entire corpora of their scanned books and returns visual results about historical trends. Coordinating with that release, Science magazine published an article by a team of researchers using Google Books to make some grand claims about cultural evolution. They even coined the term “culturomics” to describe their enterprise, “the application of high-throughput data collection and analysis to the study of human culture.” There were no humanities scholars on the research team.

For the year’s first meeting of the Digital Scholars reading and discussion group, we will discuss the so-called science of “culturomics” and several of the reactions it has sparked, critical as well as reflective. Additionally, we will consider the position of “cultural scientists” and digital humanists vis-à-vis the faultline of academia’s alleged “two cultures” divide. Come to learn and weigh in on the debates.

Materials for discussion include:

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