Art History Visual Resources Center
(308A Doe Library, follow signs for the Art History / Classics Library)
12:30 – 1:30 PM
Friday, February 12
Join us for more project workshopping! Please note that we will be meeting in at the VRC.
Chris Hench and Alex Estes
I presented this project in the Fall, but it has changed tremendously with the inclusion of 14 bibles and the construction of a new similarity between between clusterings. The next step of my research will be estimating a series of topic models to better understand the latent aesthetic categories themselves, but this project is broadly suggestive of further literature studying latent beliefs using computational translation analysis. I am looking for advice about how to improve what I’ve done and where to go from here!
A centuries-old literature examines and describes aesthetic pleasure, or the experience of beautiful objects. This project develops new tools in the digital humanities to analyze one aspect of aesthetic pleasure: a comparison and enumeration of latent aesthetic categories, or groups of objects that are identified as being aesthetically pleasing ‘in the same way’ (perhaps reflecting their physical, ethical, or conceptual characteristics), across populations in Britain, Germany, and the United States. Using word choice data from 14 translations of the Old Testament, I present a novel similarity metric to quantify evidence of differences between latent aesthetic categories manifested by each translation event, as well as a statistical framework for estimating confidence intervals around my estimates. I find strong evidence of high degrees of similarity in 20th and 21st century American latent categories across religious denomination and translation philosophy, which supports both the consistency and external validity of my estimates. I also find substantial differences between 16th and 21st century latent aesthetic categories in the English-speaking world and between the contemporary categories of the US and Germany.