Allen B. Riddell

Studying the History of German Studies with Topic Models

Wed 18 July 2012

The published version of this paper can be found in Publications

I'm working on a longer version of the paper I presented at the 21st St. Louis Symposium on German Literature at Washington University. The paper doubles, I hope, as a general introduction to quantitative methods of text analysis for an audience in the humanities and social sciences.

How to Read 22,198 Journal Articles: Studying the History of German Studies with Topic Models

Academic journals record the development of German Studies in the United States over the 20th century. Reading through and documenting trends in tens of thousands of journal articles presents a challenge. This paper considers alternative ways of reading articles published between 1928 and 2006 in Monatshefte, New German Critique, The German Quarterly, and German Studies Review. One approach, a probabilistic topic model, captures major trends, including the relative decline in articles about language pedagogy and the rise of literary history and criticism.

Draft (pdf)

Please cite the version listed in Publications.

  • 2012-07-22: Minor changes.
  • 2012-09-25: More copyediting.