Visiting Speaker, 17 Mar 2020: Giles Bergel on machine learning and textual studies

Giles Bergel (University of Oxfordwill be presenting his paper, ‘Computer Vision, AI and Textual Studies: The State of the Art’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 17 March 2020. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.01.

2019.04.bergelComputer vision has made significant progress in recent years, thanks in part to developments in machine learning (or ‘AI’), and is now beginning to make an impact on textual studies. Computers can, for example, reliably match the same printed page or illustration, or visualise variant typesettings or images. More challenging applications, such as OCR for handwriting, or segmenting documents into meaningful classes, are areas of active research. This presentation will give an account of the state of the art in this area, including several challenges and critical issues for the development of a truly humanistic AI. It will also demonstrate free and open source software tools that researchers can use to make their own images searchable, and will include time for attendees to experiment and learn more about the capabilities and limits of this technology.


Visiting Speaker, 12 Mar 2019: Richard Graham on digital identities and Google

Richard Graham (University of Birmingham) will be presenting his paper, ‘Understanding Google: 5000 Years of Human Thought in 0.3 Seconds’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 12 March 2019. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.01, and will be followed by a wine reception.

2018.04.grahamHow do search engines change the way we think or remember? Should global technologies present knowledge as universal, or are some truths relative? Does Google’s contribution to the democratisation of knowledge outweigh their facilitation of fake news, conspiracy theories and hate speech?

Search engines have become an integral part of the Web for many around the world who rely upon them on a daily basis. Google’s search engine governs a wide range of activities that regulate how news, politics and cultural beliefs circulate online. Therefore, search engines are at the centre of a huge number of debates that reach far beyond the study of an isolated technology.

This talk will address a range of diverse issues concerning the nature of search, including how our identities are interpreted algorithmically and how search engines provide individuals with different results based on the language they speak, where in the world they search from, and the phrasing of queries that might disclose existing attitudes. The paper will also address the social impact of harnessing big data and machine learning to make linguistic judgements, which often lead to the propagation of sexist, racist or extremist views. In an age when multinational technology companies have the power to distribute fake news, trace human behaviour in ever-closer detail, and shape the kind of knowledge people have access to around the globe, critical and human-centric enquiry is urgently required. The talk will highlight why humanities perspectives are essential for the study of digital culture and will directly address how researchers without a computing background can study and critique dynamic computational systems.


2018/19 Speakers Programme now available

The 2018/19 programme of speakers at the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research is now available to view on our Events: Speakers Programme page. Talks this session from a range of national and international scholars explore a variety of subjects, including digital culture and the technology of literature, the ghost stories that inspired Frankenstein, book fairs and book societies, and reading history in the 18th century. The talks will be followed by wine reception, and all are welcome!


Visiting Speaker, 21 Mar 2017: Matt Hayler on Digital and Ambient Literature

Matt Hayler (University of Birmingham) will be presenting his paper, ‘Digital and Ambient Literature: How Resistance Was Futile and the Future of Books Might Not Be Awful’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 21 March 2017. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48, and will be followed by a wine reception.

2016.06.haylerWhat difference does digitisation make? This talk will compare the ways in which digital and printed book bodies might mean, taking their embodiment seriously and thinking through the work that it might do in entanglement with the bodies of their readers. As we develop new grammars of use for digital texts we see that they are anything but ghostly or ephemeral, instead capable of meaning in their form just as much as works in print – our resistance comes from somewhere else. These ideas will be further thought through in a discussion of the AHRC Ambient Literature project which explores the interactions of readers, digital texts, and lived places. What means, how, and in what configurations is a rich question, and my answer, at least in part, is a posthuman understanding of where sites of knowledge, and what is to be known, might be located. (more…)

Narrative Voice and Gothic Otherness

Voice and Dispossession: A Comparative Poetics

Emily Rohrbach, 8 Nov 2016, CEIR Seminar Series

In the second paper of this year’s CEIR series, held in collaboration with the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar (CRECS), Dr Emily Rohrbach drew on her current research on voice and dispossession in ‘Gothic’ literature from Britain, Europe and America to examine its influence on the Romantic period. Rohrbach, in her usual critical style which as Dr Jamie Castell stated ‘pays attention to the small details when addressing the big questions’, analysed aspects of the narrative voice that dramatise self-reflexively its own otherness. (more…)