Nichole talked about her recent work on “Slaves vs Robots”:
It’s a common assumption in science fiction studies that slaves and robots are substitutable, and that books about robots therefore teach us things about slavery. This project seeks to explore the grammatical and semantic contexts in which "robot" and "slave" are substitutable in practice across various corpora, using word embedding models.
Alex discussed his work on “Four Theses on the Real and Imaginary British Empire, 1697-1829”:
What is the relationship between empire’s imaginary and material geographies? To address this question, I compared place names in a cross-section of eighteenth-century British maritime literature to the movements of British Navy, East India Company, and transatlantic slave ships. After discussing the methods for identifying place names and mapping them alongside these ship movements, including an interactive Shiny application, I will discuss four tentative patterns of imperial geography that the comparison helps us see. Finally, I will propose some potential next steps for generalizing the project’s methods, corpora, and findings.