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Chapter 11 - Whither Modernity

from Part II - The Hidden Dimensions of Temporal Experience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2023

Jo Guldi
Affiliation:
Southern Methodist University, Texas
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Summary

This chapter examines whether and how it is possible to reckon where modernity is going. While some researchers are tempted to think about the deep past in light of a shared and aspirational future, there are many reasons to be skeptical about doctrines of progress. Even to say with certainty what trends and dynamics animate a given period is never easy – to say when modernity began and what distinguishes it from the past requires a profound grasp of the multiple dimensions of time. Case studies in this chapter test common conceptions of modernity, such as “urbanization” and “empire,” for their rise and fall over a century, demonstrating how different ways of reckoning with the count of words are crucial to interpretation. It asks whether and how algorithms can constitute a tool for determining which forces are “trending” in a culture, and in a given period. Reviewing a case study on Hansard’s parliamentary debates, it explains how different measures of trending can be used to create new insight into how Britain changed over the course of the nineteenth century, highlighting references to a shared future where political rights dominated as one major finding.

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Chapter
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The Dangerous Art of Text Mining
A Methodology for Digital History
, pp. 333 - 351
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Whither Modernity
  • Jo Guldi, Southern Methodist University, Texas
  • Book: The Dangerous Art of Text Mining
  • Online publication: 21 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009263016.015
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  • Whither Modernity
  • Jo Guldi, Southern Methodist University, Texas
  • Book: The Dangerous Art of Text Mining
  • Online publication: 21 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009263016.015
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Whither Modernity
  • Jo Guldi, Southern Methodist University, Texas
  • Book: The Dangerous Art of Text Mining
  • Online publication: 21 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009263016.015
Available formats
×