3 May 2023 17:45 - 19:15 McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Description

A public lecture in which Mark Algee-Hewitt (Stanford) discusses his recent project that uses a contemporary large language model to explore how climate fiction exists in tension between accurate but ineffective science writing and the strategies of climate disinformation. In other words, how does climate fiction appear more true to readers than climate science while avoiding the pitfalls of disinformation (if it does at all)?

Chair: Professor Caroline Bassett (Cambridge)


Mark Algee-Hewitt is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities and English at Stanford University. He directs the Stanford Literary Lab, a multidisciplinary collaborative research group combining computational with critical approaches to literary inquiry.

Mark’s research uses quantitative and statistical methods to explore questions of humanities interest, particularly around the literature and philosophy of the long eighteenth century in Britain and Germany. His current project leverages word embedding models to study the history and evolution of concepts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focusing particularly on aesthetic theories formed around the nascent literature study. In the Stanford Literary Lab, he has led a variety of collaborative projects that use computational methods to explore textual data from the late Medieval period until the present, including a project on the formal causes of suspense in literary texts, a project that explores the evolution of disciplinary writing styles, a project on the use of neologisms for world-building in contemporary Science Fiction texts; and a project on the development of the short story in twentieth-century women’s magazines. His background includes English literature, literary theory, and computer science degrees.

He has taught courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in the fields of literary study, environmental humanities, and humanities computation/digital humanities. Currently, he is leading a multi-institutional collaborative project that seeks to understand the effectiveness of novels that centre climate change for large-scale public science education. He has held grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Human Centered Artificial Intelligence Initiative at Stanford University. He has been involved in the international digital humanities community since 2012 and currently sits on the Journal of Cultural Analytics editorial board.

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