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"Digital Humanities and Philology: The Concept of Discursive Communities in Weimar Germany" Lecture by Earl Jeffrey Richards, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germania

The visit of Earl Jeffrey Richards is organised by Patrizia Caraffi from the Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies.

Dec 05, 2017 from 05:30 PM to 07:30 PM

Where Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna

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The inquiry here arose from two questions, one from the realm of intellectual history, the other from semantics. First, was there an essential core of Nazi ideology or were the Nazis ideological hunters and gatherers? Second, how well can we in 2017 best analyze empirically antisemitic and Nazi discourse?

In order to answer these question, Prof. Richards has assembled two digital corpora, the first of anti- and philosemitic texts from 1834 to 1933, of nearly seven million words, and a second of texts from the Weimar period itself with nearly fifteen million words. He has then analyzed these texts using a variety of digital platforms which permit network visualizations at a macroanalytical level and semantic scrutiny at a microanalytical level. Since many of the texts are taken from speeches, both corpora preserve some aspects of the oral culture influential in the political culture of the period.

Using computer-assisted research permits the detection of individual discursive communities within the networks visualized which in turn lead to new questions about the viability of political dialogue during the Weimar Republic, including whether the breakdown of political dialogue may have favored the rise of Nazism.