CfP: Machine Learning and the Future of Philology

Abstracts due: August 15

If philology was among the consequences of movable type in Europe — born of the need to render manuscripts into print — what will it become in the wake of the digital revolution? In this symposium, the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) and the Manuscript, Rare Book and Archive Studies Initiative (MARBAS) hope to explore this question together. We welcome 25-minute presentations from Princeton faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students currently engaged in applying machine learning to manuscripts, rare books, archives, inscriptions, coins and other pre-1600 texts. How can computer vision, handwritten text recognition, natural language processing, deep neural networks and/or other forms of machine learning refine the arsenal of techniques for studying premodern evidence? Is machine learning a means to an end, or could it facilitate a rebirth of the Grundwissenschaften (fundamental techniques of historical research) in the digital age?

The symposium will take place at the CDH on Friday, December 9, 2022, in person (circumstances willing). Presentations of collaborative projects involving team members from outside Princeton are encouraged. Please submit a title and abstract of no more than 300 words here by August 15, 2022, including the names of all collaborators and team members if relevant, and specifying who will be presenting.

This symposium is intended as the first of a pair; the second will take place in 2023–24 and solicit proposals from beyond the Princeton community. 

Questions? Please email and a member of the coordinating committee will get back to you.

Coordinating committee:
Natalia Ermolaev (CDH)
Stephanie Luescher (NES and MARBAS)
Jamie O'Connell (NES and MARBAS)
Marina Rustow (NES, History, and MARBAS)

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