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April 11: Lincoln Mullen, “Towards Quantitative Cultural Histories in America’s Public Bible.”

Posted by on Sunday, March 10, 2019 in Events, News.

Thursday, April 11, 4:10 pm, Center for Digital Humanities

Lincoln Mullen, “Towards Quantitative Cultural Histories in America’s Public Bible”

America’s Public Bible is a biblical commentary—not on the Bible itself, but on how Americans used the Bible. It charts how Americans used the Bible in public by using a computer program to find biblical quotations in millions of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century newspapers. The project is thus a quantitative history of culture. As such, it runs squarely into one of the open questions of the digital humanities: can digital methods enable humanities scholarship that does not give up the sophistication achieved by more traditional research methods? After an explanation of what the project is, how it works, and what it can tell us about the history of the Bible, this talk will investigate whether and how such digital projects can address humanities questions of form, scale, context, and interpretation.

Lincoln Mullen is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, where he teaches digital history, American religious history, and the history of Christianity. He is also director of computational history at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. He is the author of The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America.

Related Event: Seminar Discussion

Thursday, April 11, 1:00 pm, Center for Digital Humanities

From 1:00-2:30 pm, Professor Mullen will lead a discussion of the methodology behind American’s Public Bible and the ways in which digitized sources are transforming historical research practices.  The discussion is open to all, but participants must register in advance.  Register here:

Participants will be asked to read two texts in advance of this discussion, Professor Mullen’s own preprint publication “The Making of America’s Public Bible: Computational Text Analysis for Religious History” and Lara Putnam’s “The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast (The American Historical Review, Volume 121, Issue 2, 1 April 2016, Pages 377–402). The readings are available at the links below; contact for further information.