Paul Vierthaler


Friday, November 20, 12 – 2 PM in JRL 122
Paul Vierthaler, “Quantitative Historical Imagination: Late Ming and Early Qing Chinese Unofficial Histories, Novels, and Dramas”

Please join us for a joint session with the Digital Humanities Forum on Friday, November 20 at 12 PM in JRL 122. We will be welcoming. Paul Vierthaler Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at Boston College.

In this talk, Paul Vierthaler will discuss his research in using digital techniques to analyze the differences among texts that transmitted unofficial historical narratives in the late Ming and early Qing periods in China. This talk centers on novels on current events, dramas on current events, and yeshi (unofficial, or wild, histories). These texts, which Paul calls “quasi-histories”, purport to move information about recent events, but their historical validity and generic nature have been debated by contemporary and modern scholars. In the past, their sheer numbers made systematic analysis difficult. Paul will begin with a meta-analysis of extensive secondary bibliographic information to analyze the claim that late Ming and early Qing quasi-histories were unprecedentedly focused on the recent past. He will finish with a discussion on using stylometric analysis to explore the complex stylistic relationships among texts of these genres, and their relationship with official dynastic histories.