Katherine Bode (Australian National University)

Fellow in Research Area 5: "Building Digital Communities"
October – December 2019

Literary Apparatuses: Reading and Computing

Katherine Bode’s project at EXC 2020 is dedicated to investigating the relationship between human reading and computer modeling. This inquiry aims to resist the common opposition of computational and non-computational inquiry in discussions of literary studies and to explore how digital forms and methods might help to progress critical agendas of the humanities, and vice versa. To achieve these ends, she will investigate resonances and differences within and between two areas of literary studies. The first is the turn to reading in non-digital approaches to literature, especially in the post-critique movement. The second is the turn to modeling, and associated discussions of data and representativeness, in digital and quantitative literary research. The project will ask whether these two turns can be brought together in ways that enrich literary research. In particular, can theories of empiricism in recent discussions of reading inform practices of data construction and computational modeling? And can the distributed materiality of digital textuality suggest new literary phenomena that exceed the boundaries of individual texts and subjects? In this stance, the project relates closely to the Research Area 5’s understanding of ‘Digital Humanities’ as critical thinking praxis and testing ground for exploring the potential of computational approaches within the critical discourse of the humanities.

Katherine Bode is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University College of Arts and Social Sciences. A groundbreaking researcher in the Digital Humanities, Bode has been awarded a Future Fellowship (2018-2022) and two Discovery Grants (2007-2010 and 2013-2016) by the Australian Research Council for scholarly projects which extensively and innovatively use digital archives and produce new forms of literary research. Her publications include A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History (University of Michigan Press, 2018), and Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field (Anthem Press, 2012).