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EIU Humanities Center

Spotlight on ... Dr. Ted Underwood

Ted Underwood

Dr. Underwood is on his way! His talk will be held on Wednesday, October 5 at 5pm in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall.

The EIU Center for the Humanities and the Digital Humanities Initiative, in conjunction with the Susan Bazargan Graduate Lecture in English, is happy to announce Dr. Ted Underwood's talk "How Well Do We Already Understand Literary History?" The talk will be held in the Lecture Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Dr. Underwood is a Professor of English and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include text mining in large digital libraries, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature, as well as the sociology of cultural distinction. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

His current book project, under contract with University of Chicago Press, is to be titled The Horizon of Literary History.

Dr. Underwood's talk will address several questions regarding literary history:

"Our anthologies and survey courses certainly give the impression that we have a rough map of the last three centuries of literary history. We continue to argue about details and interpretations, of course, but we seem to agree at least that this story is broadly articulated by concepts like Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism. In this talk, I'll suggest that we might be overestimating our understanding of the big literary picture. It has recently become possible to compare thousands of volumes from large digital libraries, and in the decade or so that literary historians have been doing this, we've discovered a lot of unexpected patterns. Non of them line up well with the prevailing narrative organized by literary periods and movements. I'll consider examples drawn from the history of genre, literary reviewing, and representations of gender in fiction."

You can follow Dr. Underwood on twitter! Click here.

Check out more of Dr. Underwood's work by clicking on the links below:

Introduction to "Why Literary Periods Mattered: Historical Contrast and the Prestige of English Studies" (2013)

"The Work of the Sun: Literature, Science, and Economy, 1760-1860" (2005)

"The Quiet Transformations of Literary Studies: What Thirteen Thousand Scholars Could Tell Us" (co-authored with Andrew Goldstone), New Literary History (2014)

"Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago"

"The Literary Uses of High Dimensional Space," Big Data (2015)

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Contact Information

Director: C.C. Wharram

Doudna Fine Arts Center 1343
(217) 581-3968

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