Who we are...

Principal Investigators:

  • Hoyt Long is an Associate Professor of Japanese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. He conducts research in the field of cultural analytics and has written extensively on the use of computational methods for the study of literary history. This includes work on global modernism, modern Japanese literature, and the US novel. He is director of the Chicago Text Lab and a member of the NovelTM group at McGill University.
  • Robert Morrissey is the Benjamin Franklin Professor of French in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Founder and Director of the ARTFL Project (American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language), one of the oldest and most well-established digital humanities project, he is general editor of the ARTFL on-line edition of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie. Situated at the confluence of literature and poetics on the one hand and ideology and politics on the other, his work concentrates on themes, topoi, and cultural currents over the longue durée.
  • Haun Saussy is University Professor in Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, and the Committee on Social Thought. His work bears mostly on classical Chinese literature and the problems of interpretation it raises. Some of these problems are amenable to corpus-based solutions, such as text reuse and the properties of genre and style. Other issues that he has worked on include media theory, translation, and the history of linguistic thought.
  • James Sparrow is an Associate Professor in History of the modern United States who applies the methods and sensibilities of social and cultural history to problems posed by politics at the national and international scales. Methodologically he is interested in the relationship between interpretation and generalization in large-scale empirical analyses (especially but not exclusively quantitative). He is equally driven by a desire to democratize the materials, perspectives, and questions that history can open up to rigorous inquiry. To this end, in an earlier life he helped direct several grant-funded digital history projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. These projects, which included the 9/11 Digital Archive, experimented with techniques of “crowd-sourcing” before it was called that.

Project Director & Technical Director:

  • Clovis Gladstone is the Project Director and Technical Director of the Textual Optics Lab. He is a long-time member of the ARTFL Project where he has been leading the development of PhiloLogic for several years, as well as developing a range of data-mining and machine learning techniques for text analysis. He specializes in French Early-Modern intellectual history, and more particularly 18th century materialism, and holds a doctorate in French Literature from the University of Chicago.

Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Wei Zhao  is a postdoctoral fellow at Capital Normal University, Beijing, specializing in modern Chinese literature and digital humanities. The first scholar who used the digital humanities method to explore the narration patterns in large-scale modern Chinese novels. She is now serving as a researcher for Textual Optics's major Chinese-language project and also  working on a project of  Moyan’s Full Texts Corpus and Modern Chinese Literature Text Mining.
  • Marine Riguet (Sorbonne Université, Paris, France)

Team members:

  • Charles Cooney is a Project Manager and long-time member of the ARTFL Project who has developed a range of digitized text resources for ARTFL as well as for Electronic Text Services and the Digital South Asia Library Project based in the Regenstein Library. With a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Chicago, Charles also has extensive experience conducting algorithmic-based text research.
  • Jeffrey Tharsen is Computational Scientist for the Digital Humanities in the University of Chicago Research Computing Center and Lecturer in the Digital Studies Program, serving as university-wide technical domain expert for digital and computational approaches to humanistic inquiry. He received his doctorate in 2015 from the University of Chicago's East Asian Languages & Civilizations department, specializing in the fields of premodern Chinese philology, phonology, poetics and paleography. In his work, Jeffrey advises researchers and leads teams creating new resources, platforms and methods for humanistic research, designs curricula and teaches courses and workshops on advanced data science, computational linguistics and natural language processing, serves on thesis committees and mentors students interested in developing new digital and computational research methods, and regularly presents his work at national and international conferences and symposia.
  • Spencer Stewart is a PhD student in the History Department at the University of Chicago. He is an Assistant Developer at the Textual Optics Lab working primarily on the Republican China corpus.
  • Jordan Pruett is a PhD candidate in the English department at the University of Chicago, specializing in 19th and 20th century American culture and digital humanities. His dissertation leverages data science methods to understand the market for popular literature in the United States between 1959 and 2019. At the lab, he has worked on the US Novel Corpus and a new, in-development corpus based on ~50,000 books from the British library.