Blog Post

Hello World

My name is Seth Long. I'm a student at Syracuse University, pursuing a doctorate in composition/rhetoric and a master's degree in linguistics. After discovering Franco Moretti a few years ago, I decided to do for the history of rhetoric what Moretti has been doing for the history of literature. My current work involves bringing together bibliographies of rhetorical treatises from the classical era through the 19th century, in order to see how the fourth canon (memory) has evolved as it travelled from Athens, to Rome, to the Arab world at the time of the Caliphate, and finally into and out of Europe's monasteries. I'm compiling 20th century texts, as well, to discover how discourses about rhetorical memory have evolved differenty in departments of English and Communications over the last century in North America.

I'm also interested in bringing the quantitative methods of "distant reading" to the study of writing in contemporary contexts, including student writing and online writing. Lately, I've been using Python and the surprisingly versatile Natural Language Toolkit to compile and mine medium-sized corpora of writing pulled from places like Twitter. I've also just completed a corpus analysis of article abstracts from two major journals in the American field of writing studies. 

I don't call myself a digital humanist because I think DH is better described as a diverse set of methods rather than a cohesive field or epistemology. I'm excited to be part of a group of people who find value in the intersections of technology and scholarship, whatever their disciplinary or epistemological commitments. 


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