A Distant Reading of Property
Abstract: Franco Moretti's call for a “distant reading” of literature has only recently been applied to history with the idea of detecting continuities and discontinuities, but few test-cases exist that propose new interventions to major historiographies on the basis of electronic reading. Can the tools of text-mining be used to follow the history of property, confiscation, and eviction around the British Empire? In this lecture, Jo Guldi (Associate Professor of History, Southern Methodist University) will show the results of using topic modeling, divergence measures, collocation analysis, and semantic analysis to understand the changing valences of property. Countering constitutionalist A. V. Dicey, Guldi uses this “distant” support to argue that colonial resistance, in rejecting the terms of ownership codified between Locke and Malthus, effectively remade the language and understandings by which parliament debated property law.
Lunch Workshop on Tuesday, April 7th, at 12pm in Busch 18
"Revisiting race, empire, and chronology in British Empire using distant reading."
Please RSVP Below. No RSVP for the lecture required.