Jo Guldi: Validating Quantitative Findings About History

Tue March 7th 2023, 12:00 - 1:15pm
Wallenberg 433A

Image courtesy of Jo Guldi

History is a field with a rigorous standard of truth, which traditionally hinges on the careful reading and assessment of documents. As historians begin to use text mining, some analysts are developing new standards for investigating when algorithms and search methods produce a verifiable picture of change over time that aligns with historians' concerns about silences in the archive, multiple possible interpretations of the past, and temporal experiences such as memory, event, and periodization.  This talk will present Dr. Guldi's research from the forthcoming book, The Dangerous Art of Text Mining.

The presentation will include lunch and take place at the Stanford Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis in Wallenberg 433A. A Zoom link is available upon request from Center Manager, Jonathan Clark (jclark93 [at] (jclark93[at]stanford[dot]edu)).

About the Speaker

Jo Guldi, professor of history and practicing data scientist, is author of four books: Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (Harvard 2012), The History Manifesto (Cambridge 2014), The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights (Yale 2022), and The Dangerous Art of Text Mining (Cambridge forthcoming).  Her historical work ranges from archival studies in nation-building, state formation, and the use of technology by experts. She has also been a pioneer in the field of text mining for historical research, where statistical and machine-learning approaches are hybridized with historical modes of inquiry to produce new knowledge. Her publications on digital methods include “The Distinctiveness of Different Eras,” American Historical Review (August 2022) and “The Official Mind’s View of Empire, in Miniature: Quantifying World Geography in Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates,” Journal of World History 32, no. 2 (June 2021): 345–70.  She is a former junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.