The Computational Turn / March 9, 2010

The forthcoming workshop on The Computational Turn in humanities which will address many of themes central to Cultural Analytics paradigm.

CFP: The Computational Turn

9TH MARCH 2010

Keynote: N. Katherine Hayles (Professor of Literature at Duke University).
Keynote: Lev Manovich (Professor, Visual Arts Department, UCSD).

The application of new computational techniques and visualisation technologies in the Arts & Humanities are resulting in new approaches and methodologies for the study of traditional and new corpora of Arts and Humanities materials. This new 'computational turn' takes the methods and techniques from computer science to create new ways of distant and close readings of texts (e.g. Moretti). This one-day workshop aims to discuss the implications and applications of what Lev Manovich has called 'Cultural Analytics' and the question of finding patterns using algorthmic techniques. Some of the most startling approaches transform understandings of texts by use of network analysis (e.g. graph theory), database/XML encodings (which flatten structures), or merely provide new quantitative techniques for looking at various media forms, such as media and film, and (re)presenting them visually, aurally or haptically. Within this field there are important debates about the contrast between narrative against database techniques, pattern-matching versus hermeneutic reading, and the statistical paradigm (using a sample) versus the data mining paradigm. Additionally, new forms of collaboration within the Arts and Humanities are emerging which use team-based approaches as opposed to the traditional lone-scholar. This requires the ability to create and manage modular Arts and Humanities research teams through the organisational structures provided by technology and digital communications (e.g. Big Humanities), together with techniques for collaborating in an interdisciplinary way with other disciplines such as computer science (e.g. hard interdisciplinarity versus soft interdisciplinarity).

Papers are encouraged in the following areas:

- Distant versus Close Reading
- Database Structure versus Argument
- Data mining/Text mining/Patterns
- Pattern as a new epistemological object
- Hermeneutics and the Data Stream
- Geospatial techniques
- Big Humanities
- Digital Humanities versus Traditional Humanities
- Tool Building
- Free Culture/Open Source Arts and Humanities
- Collaboration, Assemblages and Alliances
- Language and Code (software studies)
- Information visualization in the Humanities
- Philosophical and theoretical reflections on the computational turn

+ Participation Requirements +

Workshop participants are requested to submit a position paper (approx. 2000-5000 words) about the computational turn in Arts and Humanities, philosophical/theoretical reflections on the computational turn, research focus or research questions related to computational approaches, proposals for academic practice with algorithmic/visualisation techniques, proposals for new research methods with regard to Arts and Humanities or specific case studies (if applicable) and findings to date. Position papers will be published in a workshop PDF and website for discussion and some of the participants will be invited to present their paper at the workshop.

Deadline for Position papers: February 10, 2010
Submit papers to:

Workshop funded by The Callaghan Centre for the Study of Conflict, Power, Empire, Swansea University. The Research Institute in the Arts and Humanities (RIAH) at Swansea University.

+ References +

Clement, Tanya E. (2008) ‘A thing not beginning and not ending’: using digital tools to distant-read Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans. Literary and Linguistic Computing. 23.3 (2008): 361.

Clement, Tanya, Steger, Sara, Unsworth, John, Uszkalo, Kirsten (2008) How Not to Read a Million Books. Retrieved 10/11/09 from

Council on Library and Information Resources and The National Endowment for the Humanities (2009) Working Together or Apart: Promoting the Next Generation of Digital Scholarship. Retrieved 10/11/09 from

Hayles, N. Katherine (2009) RFID: Human Agency and Meaning in Information-Intensive Environments. Theory, Culture and Society 26.2/3 (2009): 1-24.

Hayles, N. Katherine (2009) How We Think: The Transforming Power of Digital Technologies. Retrieved 10/11/09 from

Kittler, Fredrich (1997) Literature, Media, Information Systems. London: Routledge.

Krakauer, David C. (2007) The Quest for Patterns in Meta-History. Santa Fe Institute Bulletin. Winter 2007. Retrieved 10/11/09 from

Latour, Bruno (2007) Reassembling the Social. London: Oxford University Press.

Manovich, Lev (2002) The Language of New Media. MIT Press.

Manovich, Lev (2007) White paper: Cultural Analytics: Analysis and Visualizations of Large Cultural Data Sets, May 2007. Retrieved 10/11/09 from

McLemee, Scott (2006) Literature to Infinity. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 10/11/09 from

Moretti, Franco (2005) Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History. London: Verso.

Robinson, Peter (2006) Electronic Textual Editing: The Canterbury Tales and other Medieval Texts. Electronic Textual Editing. Modern Language Association of America. Retrieved 10/11/09 from

Schreibman, Susan, Siemens, Ray & Unsworth, John (2007) A Companion to Digital Humanities. London: WileyBlackwell.

Organised by Dr David M. Berry, Department of Political and Cultural Studies, Swansea University.