Technological evolution in the digital humanities is presenting a new form of algorithmic reading, in which the readers are not human beings but machines and programs. Machine reading can be accomplished as hyper-reading, which produces texts following links on the web, or as quantitative data processing that makes visible in the texts patterns that the human mind would not be able to locate. In any case, in these procedures algorithms autonomously draw inferences from texts and produce information from the available materials. Are we facing an evolution of written communication, which already has been processed in the form of the text, or is it an unprecedented form?
That this kind of processing is called reading can be traced back to the debate around the distinction between close reading and distant reading in Moretti (2005 and 2013). In this "remaking" (Kirschenbaum 2007; Hayles 2012) is reading still reading? Who reads, what is being read, can we still assume communication processes and, in case we do, who is communicating with whom? Far from merely providing a facilitated access to ‘big data’, electronic reading practices come to produce new forms of knowledge resulting from a deliberate estrangement and defamiliarization of textuality (Ramsay 2008). For some observers, distant reading is the most scientific and ‘correct’ form of reading texts, that should supplant the approximate and idiosyncratic practices of traditional human reading. According to others, distant reading should rather be viewed as a supplement to interpretative reading, raising questions that could not arise without these tools, and allowing in some cases to "read" otherwise inaccessible corpora.
In the seminar the analysis of electronic reading will offer the opportunity to rethink some basic concepts: the notions of text and of document, the idea of canon and its origin, the forms and constraints of interpretation, or the possibilities and limits of criticism. It will also address central questions concerning the emergence and possible convergence of historical practices of reading, commentary and glossing, the relationship between knowledge production in science and humanities, the functions of literacy and numeracy, as well as the operating principles of digital and graphic writing.
Teilnahmevoraussetzungen, notwendige Vorkenntnisse
Lektürekenntnisse des Englischen werden vorausgesetzt.
The reading list for the seminar and the detailed seminar program will be announced to the participants by the end of October.
Zu dieser Veranstaltung existiert ein Lernraum im E-Learning System. Lehrende können dort Materialien zu dieser Lehrveranstaltung bereitstellen: