Background[ edit ] In the United States, the first report to draw a relationship between race, income, and risk of exposure to pollutants was the Council of Environmental Quality's "Annual Report to the President" inin response to toxic waste dumping in an African American community in Warren County, NC. General Accounting Office GAO issued a report on the case inand the United Church of Christ UCC commissioned a report exploring the concept in drawing a connection between race and the placement of the hazardous waste facilities. Corporations in the Global North often produce dangerous chemicals banned in the United States and export them to developing countries, or send waste materials to countries with less stringent environmental laws. CBA contributes to environmental racism through the valuing of environmental resources based on their utility to society.
This essay argues that distant reading has a largely distinct genealogy stretching back many decades before the advent of the internet — a genealogy that is not for the most part centrally concerned with computers. It would be better to understand this field as a conversation between literary studies and social science, inititated by scholars like Raymond Williams and Janice Radway, and moving slowly toward an explicitly experimental method.
Candor about the social-scientific dimension of distant reading is needed now, in order to refocus a research agenda that can drift into diffuse exploration of digital tools.
Clarity on this topic might also reduce miscommunication between distant readers and digital humanists. A reader who thought it worthwhile to quibble could have replied that neither thing is a subset of the other.
No one expects a short newspaper article to give a full history of academic trends.
Current trends in digital literary studies, and the larger digital humanities, appear to be moving away from representational concerns and toward interpretive functions as contemporary digital scholars, such as Stephen Ramsay, Franco Moretti, Matthew Jockers, Geoffrey Rockwell, and others, are using technology to devolve, manipulate, and reform the literary text.
But the interpretive questions posed by the scholars she mentions in this passage are much older than the web. Quantitative interpretation of literature is a story that stretches back through book history, sociology, and linguistics to a range of nineteenth-century experiments [ Mendenhall ], [ Sherman ].
This tradition is a branch of the digital humanities only in a parochial sense — as we might call pizza a branch of American cuisine. Both things were imported from a different social context, and inherit a longer history of their own. As long as readers remember that many ingredients of this history have longer backstories elsewhere, no one will be misled.
But of course, backstories do get forgotten with the passage of time, and new generations learn to associate pizza mainly with Chicago or New York.
To my eyes, this puts the emphasis in a strange place, and suggests that we have begun to forget or at least underplay important aspects of our own past. Big data is a twenty-first century technical buzzword.
It is odd to see it used as a filing category for the much older aspiration to survey patterns that organize human culture. In particular, I want to emphasize that distant reading is not a new trend, defined by digital technology or by contemporary obsession with the word data.
The questions posed by distant readers were originally framed by scholars like Raymond Williams and Janice Radway who worked on the boundary between literary history and social science. Of course, computer science has also been a crucial influence. But the central practice that distinguishes distant reading from other forms of literary criticism is not at bottom a technology.
It is, I will argue, the practice of framing historical inquiry as an experiment, using hypotheses and samples of texts or other social evidence that are defined before the writer settles on a conclusion. It seems desirable — even likely — that distant readers and digital humanists will coexist productively.
But that compatibility cannot be taken for granted, as if the two projects were self-evidently versions of the same thing. They are not, and the institutional forms of their coexistence still need to be negotiated.
Vernacular literary study entered nineteenth-century universities as an already-ambitious project that sought to trace the parallel development of literature, language, and society across a thousand years. It was only in the twentieth century that literary scholarship began to restrict itself paradigmatically to the close reading of single texts.
If we take a long view of disciplinary history, recent research on large digital libraries is just one expression of a much broader trend, beginning around the middle of the twentieth century, that has tended to reinstate the original historical ambitions of literary scholarship.May 20, · A new study by Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel, who runs Millennial Branding, a one-man research and consulting firm in Boston that’s focused on .
In Defense of Your Humanities Degree: 5 Reasons Why Studying the Humanities Isn’t a Waste of Time.
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