View CalendarView Calendar
CANCELED - "Open Source Religion: A Spiritual Genealogy of Text Mining and the Production and Ownership of Religious Data (1955-2010)" by Andrew Ventimiglia
CANCELED - "Open Source Religion: A Spiritual Genealogy of Text Mining  and the Production and Ownership of Religious Data (1955-2010)" by Andrew Ventimiglia
WhenWednesday, May 20, 2020, 4 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationPhysics / Astronomy Building (PAT)
Campus roomSeminar Room, Data Science Studio,6th Floor
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorseScience Institute - Anissa Tanweer,

Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering - David Ribes,

Information School - Megan Finn,

Science, Technology and Society Studies Program - Leah Ceccarelli,
Target AudienceArts/humanities/social sciences/data+computer science

Digital text mining – a foundational tool for fields ranging from social media analysis to informatics to data science – began with the technological application of computers to one of the oldest extant practices of media analysis: religious exegesis. In 1949, Jesuit priest Roberto Busa used IBM computers to create a comprehensive, searchable index of the nearly 11 million words of St. Thomas Aquinas. Considered one of the first projects of digital textual archiving and analysis, Busa’s pioneering approach continued with Rev. John Ellison and his electronic Bible concordance, setting the framework for radically new approaches to researching and analyzing both the word and the Word. This oft-neglected genealogy indicates that studies of religion and religious texts have played a formative role in the development of digital analytics, and historical strategies of religious exegesis practiced on old media helped fuel the creation of new media tools designed to organize, process, and evaluate a wide range of digital information.  This article traces a spiritual genealogy of digital text mining. This narrative is significant not only because it positions traditional, historically-grounded forms of religious inquiry at the origin point for contemporary forms of data analysis, but also because it demonstrates that scholarly attention to digital tools for religious practice – pastoral research programs, sermon databases, Bible software – can provide broader insights about the development, the logics, and even the ethics of data mining in the contemporary era. I specifically analyze the history and development of contemporary religious software and the ‘datafication’ of religion – with a focus on sermon-writing tools and sermon databases – in order to highlight the ways that these new media technologies were shaped by concomitant, long-standing debates about the ethics of ownership in religious media. I then argue that these debates provide a useful resource for thinking about data ethics broadly conceived.

View CalendarView CalendarPrintPrint
Events calendar powered by Trumba