Talks and presentations

Emancipation of Emotions? Questioning the emotionalisation of society with emotion mining and digitised historical corpora

March 07, 2019

Short paper, Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries Conference 2019, Copenhagen, DK

There appears to be consensus about the development of an ‘emotional culture’ in the Western World during the second half of the twentieth century. Emotional expressions supposedly have become more socially acceptable, and such expressions also became much more common in public discourse. It is a common assumption that an ‘emancipation of emotions’ led to a far-reaching and ongoing ‘emotionalisation’ of Western politics, media, and society. By using generic lexicons of emotional words, we try to find an empirical way to test this ‘shared intuition’ in collections of digitised historical parliamentary debates and newspapers.

Debating Evil: Using Word Embeddings to Analyze Parliamentary Debates on War Criminals in The Netherlands

September 20, 2018

Paper presentation, Conference on Language Technologies & Digital Humanities 2018, Ljubliana, SLO

(Together with Ralf Futselaar) In this presentation, we proposed a method to investigate changes in historical discourse by using large bodies of text and word embedding models. As a case study, we investigated discussions in Dutch Parliament about the punishment of war criminals in the period 1945-1975. We demonstrated how word embedding models, trained with Google’s Word2Vec algorithm, can be used to trace historical developments in parliamentary vocabulary through time.

Dialects of Discord: Using Word Embedding Models to analyse preferred vocabularies in political debate through time

March 07, 2018

Paper presentation, Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries 2018, Helsinki, FIN

In the early 1980s, the controversy regarding placement or non‐placement of cruise missiles led to the greatest popular protests in Dutch history and to a long and often bitter political controversy. The NATO “double‐track decision” of 1979 envisioned the placement of nuclear weapons in the Netherlands, to which the Dutch government eventually agreed in 1985. After 1985, due to declining tensions between the Soviet Block and NATO, the new cruise missiles were never stationed in the Netherlands. We wanted to analyse this acrimonious debate using Word Embedding Models (WEMs) and the proceedings of the Dutch lower and upper house of Parliament during the 1970s and 1980s.

What is a just punishment? The punishment of war criminals in the Netherlands, 1945-1975

December 08, 2017

Conference panel session, Genealogies of Knowledge I: Translating Political and Scientific Thought across Time and Space, Manchester, UK

The concept of “justice” is at once universal or near-universal through time and societies, but the meanings given to the term are historically fluid. What is considered “just” in one society may be profoundly unjust in another. Together with Ralf Futselaar, I proposed a method to investigate the issue. We used the digitized proceedings of the Dutch parliament (Handelingen der Staten-Generaal). Next, we trained Word Embedding Models (WEMs) with this data using the Google Word2Vec algorithm to gain insight in the discursive spaces of different words over time. By combining WEMs with Cosine Similarity measures, we developed a workflow to use discursive spaces of words to learn something about the concepts they represent and to compare these concepts diachronically.

Text mining in practice. A discussion on user-applied text mining techniques in historical research

July 04, 2017

Conference panel session, Digital Humanities Benelux Conference 2017, Utrecht, NL

In this panel we looked at the application of text mining techniques in historical research. Our central goal was to discuss practices for validation of techniques and methodologies. We wanted to come up with a proposal for integrating text mining techniques in historical research practice in a meaningful, substantive, and contributive way, and pave the way for the move of text mining into common research practice, beyond the current hype.

Ballistic Rockets through (Discursive) Space

May 02, 2017

Talk, Royal Library of the Netherlands (KB), The Hague, NL

Together with Dr. Ralf Futselaar I presented a quantitative text analysis of nuclear weapon debates in the Dutch parliament (1975-1990) to the Digital Humanities Group of the Royal Library (KB). We demonstrated how we combined Word Embedding Models based on the Google Word2Vec algorithm and Cosine-Similarity-scores to investigate political speech diachronically.

Digital Research Methods for the Humanities

March 21, 2017

Guest Lecture, Utrecht University, Utrecht, NL

This lecture on new methodologies for the humanities dealt with text mining as methodological addition to the toolbox of the humanities researcher. The lecture was part of the Digital Humanities minor at the Utrecht University.

Computational Linguistics and Text Mining for Historians

February 06, 2017

Guest Lecture, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL

Guest lecture at Erasmus University Rotterdam with Dr. Ralf Futselaar on integrating quantitative digital research methodologies in historical research. The lecture was part of a Bachelor-course on historical research methodology.

Emotions in Historical Texts

January 20, 2017

Talk, Royal Library of the Netherlands (KB), The Hague, NL

“Lightning” presentation on methodological issues concerning the diachronic investigation of emotions in historical texts.