Spring Semester

Humanities in the Digital Age

Lecturer: Gerhard Lauer (University of Goettingen).

About the lecturer | Course Summary | Suggested Reading | Slides | Assignment

About the lecturer:

Gerhard Lauer holds a chair in German studies at the University of Goettingen since 2002. Lauer initially studied literary studies, philosophy and musicology at the Saarland University and University of Tübingen, and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Munich. He then trained in German studies and Jewish studies. He went on to complete his Doctor of Philosophy in 1992 on the history of scholarship in exile. In 2000 he defended his habilitation on the rise of the Jewish Enlightenment. In 2010 he founded the Goettingen Centre for Digital Humanities. His research interests can be characterized as translating scholarly research into experimental and computer-based approaches.

Course summary:

I give an introduction to digital humanities, encompassing major fields of research. We will go more into detail about exploring texts by computers. Text mining is a fast growing area to use machine for reading texts. We make use and discuss common tools from Voyant to R.

Suggested Reading:


Slides to the lecture. Additional text: CONJECTURES ON WORLD LITERATURE by Franco Moretti.


Assignment: Choose one of the following assignments:

  1. Make use of the R package "syuzhet" on github and analyse a larger text of your choice (e.g. Gutenberg). See for inspiration: link 1 and link 2.
  2. Read the analysis of Andrew Piper on Fictionality . Write a script in R or Python to analyse the differences between fictional and non-fictional texts. Are there more dimensions the two genres differs? The data and scripts used by Pipers are here.
  3. Topic modelling is a way to extract the themes of a given text or corpus automatically. Mallet is often used tool to do this: Use a text of your choice (e.g.Gutenberg). Here is a good introduction.
. Please submit the solutions to prof. Lauer by Thursday, June 22.