Lawrence Evalyn

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As a PhD student in English, I'm excited about finding new ways to cope with large and discontinuous bodies of literature, with a particular interest in the eighteenth century.

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As an eighteenth-century literary scholar raised by two professors of computer science, with two siblings who have also pursued careers in computer science, I often find myself translating between computational and humanities disciplines. My personal research involves creatively re-using technical tools to answer literary questions, and my public writing has focused on engaging non-specialist audiences in that work. I am also excited about new pedagogical approaches, and making the academy a more inclusive space.

For my MA in English at the University of Victoria, I correlated bibliographies of the eighteenth century Gothic to investigate gendered trends. This research inspired two humorous blog posts for the now-defunct and much-mourned feminist literary blog The Toast (accessible here: I was also a finalist in UVic’s Three Minute Thesis competition sharing my preliminary results with a general audience. I capped off my studies at UVic with a summer at their Digital Humanities Summer Institute, learning text analysis with the statistical software R.

Now, I’m a PhD student at the University of Toronto, where I’ve been involved in the launch of U of T’s Digital Humanities Network. I’m excited about computational approaches to large bodies of literary texts, with a focus on the ‘long’ eighteenth century. I’m learning Python and collaborating with computer scientists to explore network analysis, topic modelling, and homegrown text analysis on hand-crafted, artisanal “small” data.  I’m interested in finding new relationships to literary canon-building that will allow us to understand literary history in all its massive, interconnected, unwieldy, discontinuous bulk.

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