Short abstract

"Almost any time you go outside and look up at the sky, you can see clouds."
Tomie de Paola
The Cloud Book, 1975

Clouds, Graphs, and Maps: Distant Reading and Disciplinary Imagination

Setting out from recent attempts to account for widespread trends in rhetoric and composition, this dissertation theorizes and applies distant reading methods (Moretti) useful for apprehending patterns in a deepening archive of disciplinary materials. Using data-mining and aggregation techniques, the project introduces three types of abstract visual models—tag clouds, citation graphs, and maps of scholarly production—designed to re-examine existing accounts of disciplinary emergence and to elicit insights into the field's "shifting terrain."

Prospectus (PDF, 117kb)

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Updated July 21, 2009