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Investigating Literary Disciplinarity: Topic Modeling Contemporary Literary Criticism

Thu, April 8, 4:00 to 5:00pm EDT (4:00 to 5:00pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Writing and Literacies Roundtable Sessions


This study adds empirical understanding to a long-standing conceptual question in English education about the nature and purposes of doing English. Grounded in sociocultural theories, and research on disciplinary literacies in the practices of literary scholars, this study uses statistical topic modeling in 4,039 contemporary articles from 214 peer-reviewed academic journals. Topic modeling analysis suggests that literary scholars write about and weave together issues of texts/form, contexts/criticality, and humanistic themes. This study adds methodologically by introducing statistical models from machine learning as a way to approach text analysis in disciplinary literacies. This study also adds to understands of English literary study, which has implications for long-standing conversations about what English education both is and should be.