Abstract: How does--and how should--new technology change the ways historians conduct and publish their research? What does it take to responsibly and creatively work with the huge collections of primary sources coming online for historical use? Tools like data visualization, mapping, and text analysis hold great potential for historians; but they can sit uneasily with established modes of research. By exploring these fundamental issues through individual cases involving millions of books and tens of thousands of shipping voyage, this talk will explore the ways historians fit into the emerging "digital humanities."
Biography: Benjamin Schmidt is an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University and core faculty at the NuLab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. His research interests are in the digital humanities and the intellectual and cultural history of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. His dissertation, “Paying Attention,” described how new ways of measuring attention in early 20th century psychology found unexpected uses in teaching, advertising, and media. His digital humanities research focuses particularly on text mining and the potential of large historical datasets for humanistic research. Recent work in topic modeling, visualization of historic data, and thematic mapping. More details are available at benschmidt.org.
Prior to coming to Northeastern, he was the graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory @ Harvard, in Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; he earned a Ph.D. in history at Princeton University, and an A.B. in Social Studies at Harvard University.
Lunch provided. Free and open to the public.
This program is part of the Friday Workshop Series of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg with additional support from the Department of American Culture.