“A Distant Reading of Empire” Abstract

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In this project, we have used MALLET (MAchine Learning for LanguagE Toolkit) to read a corpus of over 3,000 text files from a dataset requested from HathiTrust. We have drawn conclusions about the themes circulating during the late eighteenth-century, (specifically regarding India). We completed a 150-topic model that we then, with the help of the programmers at Empire Windrush, visualized in an interactive network graph. The graph allowed us to understand the connections between multiple topics as well as examine the changes that take place in the connections between topics over time. We also engaged in the conversation surrounding the Digital Humanities online by creating and actively updating a blog called www.readingfromadistance.wordpress.com. The blog presents arguments about the Digital Humanities and addresses this project.

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