Synergies: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional and Digital Humanities

Conference in The Black Diamond

søndag 27. september 2020 kl. 19:00 Blixen Hall and online
Richard Jean So, Elizabeth Evans, Ted Underwood, James Bellucci, Katie Muth, Fotis Jannidis, Nina Tahmasebi and Franco Moretti. (Photos: Kathy Muse, James Bellucci, Eleanor Courtemanche, James Bellucci, private, private, Jessica Oscarsson and Angelika Leuchter.)

How to attend

Due to Covid-19 there is only a very limited number of seats available for the physical conference, but the whole event will be streamed live online as well.

Signup for both physical attendance and the online conference via this link

With the advent of digital humanities over the course of the last decades, discussions about the theoretical and methodological foundations of literary studies have been reinvigorated. However, discussions have all too often centered on the perceived opposition between digital literary studies and traditional literary scholarship, not on their fruitful theoretical and methodological interchange.

As the conference title suggests, the overall theme of the conference is to address the synergies between digital humanities and traditional literary scholarship. Rather than reproducing the perceived methodological bifurcation between digital humanists and literary scholars, the aim of the conference is to stimulate discussion and reflection across the methodological divide. Thus, speakers will reflect on how traditional literary scholarship may benefit digital humanities and vice versa. 


September 27

13.30-14:30 Registration and coffee
14.30-15.30 Online lecture 1: Richard Jean So (McGill): “Literary History, Signal and Noise”
15.30-16.00 Light lunch
16.00-17.00 Online lecture 2: Elizabeth Evans (Cornell) & Matthew Wilkins (Cornell): “The New Literary Geography”
17.00-17.15 Short break
17.15-18.15 Online lecture 3: Franco Moretti (Stanford) “The Road to Rome. Literary Studies, Hermeneutics, Quantification.”
18.15-18.30 Coffee/fruit/cake
18.30-19.30 Online lecture 4: Ted Underwood (Illinois): “"What Have We Leaned So Far?"
19.30 Wine reception

September 28
9.00-10.30 Lecture 5: Katie Muth (Durham): “Finding Pynchon”
10.30-10.45 Coffee break
10.45-12.15 Paper session 1: McLachlan · Duggan · Berglund
12.15-13.00 Light lunch
13.00-14.30 Lecture 6: Nina Tahmasebi (Gothenburg): “The Strengths and Pitfalls of Large-Scale Text Mining for Literary Studies”.
14.30-14.45 Coffee/fruit/cake
14.45-16.15 Paper session 2:  Cooley · Vimr · Ingvarsson
16.15-16.30 Short break
16.30-18.00 Paper session 3: Sobchuk · Holgate · Zhang
18.30 Conference dinner

September 29
10.00-10.30 Brainstorm session: Companion Website to Literature: An Introduction to Theory and Analysis 
10.30-10.45 Coffee break
10.30-12.15 Paper session 4: Schommer · Calvo · Bjerring-Hansen
12.15-13.00 Light lunch    
13.00-14.30 Lecture 8: Fotis Jannidis (Würzburg): “Genre and Distant Reading. The Semantic Description of Hybrid Constellations”.
15.00 End of conference


Franco Moretti is Emeritus Professor at Stanford University and Permanent Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. He is a pioneering scholar within the field of Digital Humanities, and has, among others, co-founded the Stanford Literary Lab and authored the influential collection of essays Distant Reading in 2013.
Ted Underwood is a Professor at The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He has written extensively about how digital methods may offer new questions, approaches and insights into the formation of literary history. His latest book is called Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change and was published in 2019.

Katie Muth is Honorary Research Fellow at The University of St. Andrews. She has recently published research on Thomas Pynchon, assessing how contemporary digital methods can be used to approach on the classic questions of literary inquiry: What constitutes the singular and discernible style of an author?

Elizabeth Forrest Evans is Senior Lector at Cornell University. She is currently involved in the digital project Textual Geographies and is the author of Threshold Modernism: New Public Women and the Literary Spaces of Imperial London from 2019, where she discusses how digital approaches may alter our understanding of cultural geography, race and gender.

Richard Jean So is Assistant Professor at McGill University. He has spent the past years exploring how computational narratology and quantitative methods may enhance the study of literature, racial inequality and socio-economic factors. His newest book Redlining Culture: A Data History of Racial Inequality and Postwar Fiction is stated to be published this December.

Matthew Wilkens is Associate Professor at Cornell University and the Project Director of the digital project Textual Geographies that analyzes geographic references in millions of texts. He has published extensively on the topic of spatiality, especially aided by computational methods suchs as text mining, machine learning and Named Entity Recognition.

Nina Tahmasebi is Associate Professor at the University of Gothenburg. Initially trained in mathematics and computer science, she has dedicated her most recent years to the field of Digital Humanities. Her main area of interest is Natural Language Processing, especially with regards to studying the evolution of semantics and lexical replacements.

Fotis Jannidis is Professor at The University of Würzburg. He has played an active role in the digitization of Goethe’s fiction, and is currently doing research on the historical development of the German novel using corpus analysis. He has recently co-authored The Shape of Data in Digital Humanities: Modeling Texts and Text-based Resources with Julia Flanders in 2018.

The Network for Digital Literary Studies funded by the Danish National Research Council and The Royal Danish Library presents the conference in collaboration.