Data-Mining the Digital Bookshelf
Ellen Rees (ILN, UiO) and Lars Johnsen (Nasjonalbiblioteket) will present the project "Data-Mining the Digital Bookshelf"
This is the first systematic attempt to utilize data-mining methods on a large scale within humanities research in Norway, applying them methods to discourses of race, class, religion and gender. The core research team has a proven record of scientific excellence, and the project has the potential to rewrite Norwegian literary history and change our understanding of how literary culture informs and to a certain extent determines public discourse more broadly, and conversely how public discourse can shape literary culture. Our primary hypothesis is that many of the conclusions that have been drawn by earlier scholars of Norwegian literary history are misleading or false because they are not properly grounded in empirical data and are influenced by an ideologically-driven desire to represent Norway as homogenous, peaceful, liberal and democratic. We have identified a series of these conclusions that we find particularly problematic because they have been reproduced without proper critical examination, both within educational institutions and in literary histories. The writing of Norwegian literary history has, since at least Olaf Hansen’s Norsk litteraturhistorie (1862), been harnessed for nationalistic purposes, yet the ways in which minority groups have been portrayed or excluded both by literary authors and by the literary historians who analyzed and disseminated this literature has not yet been systematically examined. Nor is the exclusion of women, the lower classes, and religious minorities sufficiently understood. What we do know about the writing of Norwegian literary history suggests a disturbing level of discrimination and racism that appear to be a central part of the field’s own history.