Date of Degree
American Studies | Digital Humanities
Computational Text Anaylsis, Topic Modeling, American Studies, Data Vizualization, Digital Humanities
Tracking Keywords in American Studies is a computational text analysis project that provides interactive data visualizations which allow for deeper analysis of issues and discourses in the American Studies journal American Quarterly. Taking inspiration from Keywords for American Cultural Studies, which provides a list of keywords to serve as an entry point into understanding American Studies, my project takes these keywords and plots their occurrence throughout American Quarterly. Complimentary to the word counts, I chart algorithmically generated topics produced using topic modeling to look at discourses in the journal. This offers a different perspective on American Studies than what is provided through Keywords for American Cultural Studies, showing topics which might not be represented in the keywords. Like Keywords for American Cultural Studies, the project is for classroom use, offering an introduction to computational text analysis. It uses data as a starting point to critique issues and disciplines in American Studies. For example, my analysis emphasizes and shows a correlation between the keywords “White” and “Race,” and show that whiteness is the center of conversations about race in American Quarterly. I point to how trends in the keyword chart show an increasing interdisciplinary influence in American Studies, too, which supports anecdotal impressions of the field. Further, I propose the creation of “Art” and “Education” as new keywords based on statistical evidence from the topic models.
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Cleary, Thomas, "Tracking Keywords in American Studies" (2020). CUNY Academic Works.