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Research Project

Textual Optics

2017 – 2020

Project Summary

An interdisciplinary group of scholars collaborated in a lab-like environment to formulate a unique, data-driven approach to the reading and interpretation of textual archives, from single words up to millions of volumes.

Research Team

Jean-Gabriel Ganascia

Jean-Gabriel Ganascia

Professor of Computer Science

Sorbonne University

Jean-Gabriel Ganascia is Professor of Computer Science at Sorbonne University; senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France; chair of the CNRS Ethical Committee; member of the Laboratory of Computer Science of the UPMC, where he heads the ACASA team; and deputy director of the OBVIL...

Clovis Gladstone

Clovis Gladstone

Senior Research Associate and Associate Director, Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL)

University of Chicago

Clovis Gladstone is a literary scholar and a digital humanist whose work is divided between research on French Early-Modern intellectual history and his interest in leveraging new computational techniques to enhance the study of text. As a core member of the ARTFL Project for over a decade, he...

Daniel Gordon

Daniel Gordon

Professor of History

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Daniel Gordon is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who specializes in the history of political ideas in Europe and the United States. He has published extensively on the French Enlightenment. Gordon’s book Citizens Without Sovereignty (Princeton...

Jo Guldi

Jo Guldi

Associate Professor of History

Southern Methodist University

Jo Guldi is Associate Professor of History at Southern Methodist University. She is formerly a Mellon Postdoc at the University of Chicago, a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and the Hans Rothfels Chair at Brown University. She is author of The Long Land War (Yale...

Hoyt Long

Hoyt Long

Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

University of Chicago

Hoyt Long's research centers on modern Japan, with specific interests in the history of media and communication, cultural analytics, sociology of literature, book history, and environmental history. Cultural analytics has been a primary area of interest since 2010. Long has written and...

Katherine McDonough

Katherine McDonough

Senior Research Associate

The Alan Turing Institute

Katie is a historian of eighteenth-century France working at the intersection of political culture and the history of science and technology. She completed her PhD in History at Stanford in 2013. She has taught at Bates College and was a postdoctoral researcher in digital humanities at Western...

Robert Morrissey

Robert Morrissey

Benjamin Franklin Professor of French Literature, and the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities

University of Chicago

Situated at the confluence of literature and poetics on the one hand and ideology and politics on the other, Robert Morrissey's work concentrates on themes and cultural currents over the longue durée. Morrissey attempts to identify significant topoi that act as windows onto...

Marine Riguet

Marine Riguet

Lecturer in French Literature and Digital Humanities

Université de Reims Champagne-Ardennes

Marine Riguet recently completed her PhD in French Literature and Digital Humanities at Paris-Sorbonne University. Her doctoral research was focused on the study of science and literary criticism during the second half of the nineteenth century in order to establish the emergence of a new...

Haun Saussy

Haun Saussy

University Professor with appointments in Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, and Committee on Social Thought

University of Chicago

Professor Saussy's primary teaching and research interests include classical Chinese poetry and commentary, literary theory, comparative study of oral traditions, problems of translation, pre-twentieth-century media history, and ethnography and ethics of medical care.

His 2022 book,...

James Sparrow

James Sparrow

Associate Professor of History, the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the College

University of Chicago

James Sparrow is a historian of modern US politics broadly construed, with special interests in the mutual constitution of social categories, democratic publics, and state formation. His first book, Warfare State (Oxford University Press, 2011), is a history of the social politics of...

Zhao Wei

Zhao Wei

Research Fellow

Capital Normal University, Beijing

Zhao Wei is a postdoctoral fellow at Capital Normal University, Beijing, specializing in modern Chinese literature and digital humanities. The first scholar who used the digital humanities method to explore the narration patterns in large-scale modern Chinese novels, she developed the technique...

Project Narrative

Reading List

Robert Morrissey, Glenn Roe and Clovis Gladstone

“La Littérature à l’âge des algorithmes” Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France, vol. 116, no 3 (2016): 595-617 Read

Alfie Abdul-Rahman, Glenn Roe, Mark Olsen, Clovis Gladstone, Robert Morrissey, Nicholas Cronk and Min Chen

“Constructive Visual Analytics for Text Similarity Detection” Computer Graphics Forum (February 2016) Read

Glenn Roe, Clovis Gladstone and Robert Morrissey

“Discourses and Disciplines in the Enlightenment: Topic Modeling the French Encyclopédie” Frontiers in Digital Humanities 2.8 (January 2016) Read

Tim Allen, Clovis Gladstone, and Richard Whaling

"PhiloLogic4: An Abstract Query TEI System" Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative, June 2013, Issue 5 Read

Haun Saussy

“The Literal and the Lateral: A Digital Early China for College Freshmen” 217-231 in Ian Lancashire, ed., Approaches to Teaching Literature and Language Online. New York: Modern Language Association, 2009 Read

Haun Saussy

“La lecture, pratique dissidente” 59-73 in Anne Tomiche, ed., Le comparatisme comme approche critique. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2017 Read

Hoyt Long, Richard So

“Turbulent Flow: A Computational Model of World Literature” Modern Language Quarterly (September, 2016) Read

Hoyt Long, Richard So

“Literary Pattern Recognition: Modernism between Close Reading and Machine Learning” Critical Inquiry (Winter, 2016) Read

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