Ted Underwood, “Distant Horizons: Reading in the Age of Algorithms” | National Humanities Center


Ted Underwood, “Distant Horizons: Reading in the Age of Algorithms”

August 26, 2019

Ted Underwood
Ted Underwood, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Proponents of distant reading practices in which computers are used to analyze vast quantities of textual material assert that their quantitative methods simultaneously complement and complicate traditional literary criticism. Fellow Ted Underwood, professor of Information Sciences and of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an innovative leader in the use of digital reading practices, is working on a new book that continues his research using algorithmic models to better understand fiction from the nineteenth century to the present.

In this podcast, Underwood discusses how using the quantitative methodology traditionally found in the social sciences to literary studies can offer new perspectives around questions about genre—and even “microgenre” and reveal previously unperceived shifts in literary production and reception that span the course of centuries.