China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

(75) Data Past, Data Present: Chinese Narratives Of/as Information History

3/23/2018
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Washington Room 2, Exhibit Level

Sponsored By The Center for Humanities and Information, Penn State University

From the digitization of collections, to the development of computational tools for document markup and statistical analysis, new forms of data-centered research are expanding the ways in which scholars engage with texts. Crucial to the rise of the so-called digital humanities is the task of datafication—the extraction of morselized information from a document and its aggregation into larger sets—a process that underlies empirical analysis and visual summary, producing not only new historical and literary knowledge but even new ways of knowing altogether. This panel seeks to both showcase and historicize data in China studies in order to explore the intersections between the datafication of the past and the past of datafication: What can late imperial bureaucratic conventions of embedding citational data tell us about the formal tensions between linear narrative and nonlinear dataframe (Wang)? When did textual datafication become a historiographic tool, and how did it produce accounts of its own technologies and impulses (Detwyler)? What is the more recent history of computational humanities in China, and what are its connections to—and differences with—the rise of digital humanities in the West (Chen)? How can digitized corpora help us identify patterns in premodern textual practices of citation—itself a latent form of data management in Chinese writing (Sturgeon)? Ranging from the pre-Qin to the present, these diverse case studies collectively provide an opportunity to critically locate data as a subject and method within the study of Chinese history.

Presentations:

Anatoly Detwyler

Columbia University, New York

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Anatoly Detwyler

Columbia University, New York

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Anatoly Detwyler

Columbia University, New York

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Chelsea Wang

Claremont McKenna College, California

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Jing Chen

Nanjing University, Not Applicable, China

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Donald Sturgeon

Harvard University, Massachusetts

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Hilde De Weerdt

Leiden University, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

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