Benjamin Schmidt, Reading Digital Sources: Statistics and Statecraft in 19th Century America

March 30, 2015

Benjamin Schmidt Poster

Illustration shows a visualization of ship paths from the US Maury Collection, from a study of ships' logs.

Benjamin Schmidt, Assistant Professor of History at Northeastern University and core faculty at the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, will be speaking on “Reading Digital Sources: Statistics and Statecraft in 19th Century America” on Wednesday, April 1, at 3:30pm in 231 Bryan Hall (2nd floor, Faculty Lounge).

Ben Schmidt, BA Harvard, PhD Princeton (History), has served as a fellow of Harvard’s Culture Observatory and is now an assistant professor in History at Northeastern University, affiliated with the emerging hub of digital research, NULab. Versatile in his computational skills and interventions in the field, he has published articles and broad-interest pieces on the digital humanities. His dynamic web visualizations attract international appreciation: most recently, NPR, New York Times, USA Today, Slate covered his text-mining of ratemyprofessor.com to expose gender bias in the ways students evaluate their teachers. His book project, “Creating Data,” is a history of computational culture and big data centered on the American state, particularly the Census, the U.S. Navy’s data collection efforts, and the Library of Congress. Schmidt’s Bookworm, a software platform, brings “culturomics” methods to the visualization of trends in repositories of digitized texts.