OSL Skills Course: Computational Literary Studies

Onsite (Amsterdam) and online | 8, 15, 22 April and 6 May, 12:00-15:00 (on site); 13 and 27 May, 12:00-15:00 (online) | Room: Oude Manhuispoort 4-6, 1012CN Amsterdam, OMHP F0.01

Organizer: Prof. Dr. Karina van Dalen-Oskam (University of Amsterdam)
Venue: University of Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, Amsterdam. Room: F.001 
Open to: PhDs and RMA students; OSL members have first access.
Credits: 3-6ECs. NB: Credits can only be awarded to humanities ReMA and PhD students from Dutch universities.

Registration opens VIA THIS LINK on December 4th at 9am.

THIS COURSE IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail with your with your name, affiliation, status (ReMA, PhD, other) and research school membership to osl@rug.nl. We will put you on our waiting list.

NB: Members of the Huizinga research school should sign up via the Huizinga website

Scholars working in computational literary studies make use of computer software that helps them to analyze digital textual data. Software can support the exploration of a much larger amount of data in systematic ways than was possible before. In this course, students will get introduced to the most important current approaches in computational literary studies, ranging from the analysis of style and methods for the verification and attribution of authorship to various forms of ‘distant reading’ and discourse analysis.

The first part of the course takes place onsite and explores the new horizons and possibilities as well as the limitations of computational approaches in literary studies. Several computational tools will be demonstrated such as concordance software that can be used for discourse analytical approaches and specialized R-scripts for authorship attribution and stylistic analysis. The questions to be addressed in the first four sessions of the seminar include: How can different authors be distinguished from each other using computational tools? In which ways do their writing styles exactly differ? What are the options for computer-assisted discourse analysis? What kinds of reasoning and logic play a role when computational tools are applied and what are their epistemological implications? How can we evaluate the results of the new methods and techniques? Each class, a new tool will be introduced and the students will learn the basics of their use hands-on.

The second part of the course is optional and online only. Students who decide to write a paper for 3 ECs will conduct a small research projects of their own. They can discuss their intermediate results during the two final online sessions and get guidance in the writing of the paper. In this way, they will learn to use the computational tools themselves and gain practical experience with their possibilities and limitations. The research projects can be devoted to the cases presented in the first part of the course but also be proposed by the students themselves.

Course objectives:

  • Students learn to employ empirical and computational methods in literary studies, including the selection of tools and the reflection on their possibilities and
  • Students get an overview of international discussions in the fields of computational literary studies and digital humanities and learn to relate their research to these
  • Students learn to reflect on the relation of research questions and digital methods in literary studies.

More details on the programme will follow soon.