Isn't the Siku quanshu enough? Reflections on the impact of new digital tools for classical Chinese

Posted by: Hilde de Weerdt in chinese history digital humanities 3 years, 2 months ago

Isn't the Siku quanshu enough?
Reflections on the impact of new digital tools for classical Chinese

At a recent workshop a Chinese cultural historian whom I hold in high esteem raised the following question: "Isn't the Siku quanshu enough?" The implication was that the search functionality of one of the largest digital corpora of classical Chinese texts has made a great contribution to Chinese cultural studies, that this is sufficient, and that no more precious research time should be spent on the creation, application, and revision of digital tools. The position is representative of a good proportion of humanities scholars. We have all become avid users of databases and search engines but we are concerned about the digitization of everything. Below I respond to the specific question regarding the Siku quanshu; the points I raise can also be read as a response to the more general question why humanities scholars should not rely on a limited set of large commercial text databases and why they should take an active interest in the question of which databases and which tools can best serve humanities research questions and methods in the future.


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Report of First Pembroke Workshop

Posted by: julius in conference chinese history comparative history european history eurasian history networks 3 years, 2 months ago

A report of the group's first workshop "New Perspectives on Comparative Medieval History: China and Europe, 800-1600" (Pembroke College, Oxford, 30/09-01/10/2013) has been published on H-Soz-U-Kult.

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Digital Interpretations

Posted by: Hilde de Weerdt in digital humanities 3 years, 2 months ago

Digital Interpretations

This post is based on an apology for my ecclectic use of digital research methods in the final part of a forthcoming monograph (Hilde De Weerdt, Information, Territory, and Networks: The Crisis and Maintenance of Empire in Song China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center). I first review the historical roots of historians' fears about the digital and proceed with an explanation of some potential and real benefits of digital methods for philological and historical inquiry.

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International Medieval Congress 2013

Posted by: mchu in member presentations chinese history comparative history 3 years, 9 months ago

On July 1-4, 2013, the International Medieval Congress (IMC) was held at the University of Leeds. Hilde organised and chaired a session on “Comparative Approaches to Elite History” (session 202) on the first day of the Congress. The panel featured papers by R.I. Moore, Hsien-huei Liao, and “Communication and Empire” research associate Julius Morche. The session explored comparative approaches to late medieval elite history focusing on elite responses to crises. R. I. Moore examined how the eleventh century can be seen as a crisis moment in global history by comparing elite responses to crises across Eurasia. Liao Hsien-huei presented findings from a comparative project on strategies for coping with the future in medieval Asia and Europe, focusing in particular on Chinese elite networks and mantic practices.

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Digitization in the Humanities

Posted by: mchu in member presentations digital humanities 4 years ago

Anne Chao (Rice University), Judith Pfeiffer (University of Oxford) and Hilde De Weerdt (King's College London) are organizing the workshop “Digitization in the Humanities” at Rice University, April 5-7, 2013. The workshop offers hands-on introductions to tools and methods in the Digital Humanities. The organizers invited six experts, including Derek Ruths (McGill), Marcus Bingenheimer (Temple), Timothy Tangherlini (UCLA), Dennis Tenen (Columbia), Shih-Pei Chen (Harvard) and David Mimno (Princeton), to teach markup, text-mining, network analysis and mega-data management.

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