Hi all,

via Robert Gramsch comes this workshop announcement which integrates computational with humanist approaches to understanding networks in medieval and ancient texts.

Also take a look at this paper by the organisers:

Universal properties of mythological networks, http://iopscience.iop.org/0295-5075/99/2/28002



Event Overview


Workshop at Coventry University 10 - 13 September 2014


In recent years, the Applied Mathematics Research Centre, supported by the Leverhulme Trust, has been developing a new, mathematial approach to the analysis of ancient texts. Our first foray into this humanities field focussed on comparative mythology. Our first publication, a pilot study [Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph Kenna, Universal properties of mythological networks, EPL 99 (2012) 28002], generated enormous interest and impact worldwide, including interviews (e.g., "BBC Radio 4 ) and newspaper articles (e.g., in the "New York Times"). EPL is the flagship publication of the European Physical Society which has 41 national Member Societies, representing over 120,000 members. The paper has been downloaded over 10,000 times so far, a record for the journal.

Subsequent publications have appeared, which also generated a lot of impact . In the past couple of years, we have become aware of excellent work taking place around the world. This includes traditional approaches to comparative mythology, folktales and to epic literature. A significant amount of data as been gathered and we think that these are amenable to new mathematical/statistical/computational approaches. On the latter side, there are new phylogenetic investigations of folktales, quantitative investigations of ancient annals and other fascinating approaches. We wish, therefore, to deepen and broaden investigations into mythology, annals and folktales. To do this, we need to learn from, and collaborate with experts nationally and internationally. We need people who understand humanities and peope who understand the new quantitative approaches. To bring it all together, we will require further funding.

Following on from a successful pilot workshop in 2013, we have secured funding from the European Science Foundation to run a workshop in september 2014. The aim is to bring together natural scientists and humanities scholars to explore the applicability of mathematical sciences to current and past cultures. In particular, we wish to explore quantitative modelling for the understanding of textual narratives. Although for us, mathematics and mythology are where we started (hence the title of the workshop), we also wish to explore how to broaden the scope of the project to other disciplines if that is possible.

An international team is being assembled, including physicists from Brazil and Ukraine, humanities scholars from Britain, Ireland and Russia ESF countries. A focus of the workshop will be to generate momentum towards obtaining further funding from a suitable source. The aim of such funding will be to support a large scale project over the coming years.