Trained both as a literary scholar and a digital humanist, my work is divided between my research on French Early-Modern intellectual history and my interest in leveraging new computational techniques to enhance the study of text. As a core member of the ARTFL Project for over a decade, I have been mostly focused on devising Natural Language Processing and Data-Mining techniques to tackle large datasets, such as search and retrieval, text-reuse detection, or clustering. As such, I have been engaged in numerous computational research projects, ranging from data-mining Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie to uncover the discursive makeup of the classes of knowledge, to reevaluating the Enlightenment impact on French revolutionary debates, to developing digital tools meant to support scholarly work on large text corpora.
My book, Rousseau et le matérialisme (Oxford: Oxford University Studies on the Enlightenment, 2020), which focuses on the central Enlightenment figure of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, has greatly benefited from my use and development of digital tools. In it, I undertook to reevaluate Rousseau's place in Enlightenment thought, by delving into a question that had long perplexed scholars of Rousseau, that is, the key role played by materialist thought in his work. My work describes how Jean-Jacques Rousseau created a life ethic underpinned by a materialist understanding of human evolution. In developing my analyses, I strove to overcome the divide separating the technicity of Digital Humanities from more traditional approaches.
I am currently leading the development of a new digital platform called the Intertextual Hub. This complexe of tools aims to provide the research community with the means to achieve a broad and exhaustive perspective on intertextuality and intellectual influence on a set of textual corpora in various languages with which ARTFL works in the context of the new Textual Optics Lab. We have significant holdings in French, of course, but also in Italian, English, Latin, Greek, Chinese and Japanese. ARTFL has recently obtained support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop the Intertextual Hub to gain insights into the intertextual relationships between the age of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
My teaching has a strong interdisciplinary component, at the crossroads between the digital humanities, literary studies, intellectual history, and political philosophy. Though I have taught classes in 18th century French literature, or Early-Modern political philosophy, I have most recently been focused on introducing students to computational methodologies for the study of text.
- Rousseau et le matérialisme, Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2020.
- "Opening New Paths for Scholarship: Algorithms to Track Text Reuse in ECCO", with Charles Cooney, in Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Studies, Simon Burrows & Glenn Roe ed., Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2020.
- "Using Philologic For Digital Textual and Intertextual Analyses of the Twenty-Four Chinese Histories 二十四史.", Journal of Chinese History, 4(2), July 2020, doi:10.1017/jch.2020.27
- "Le Dictionnaire vivant de la langue française, un dictionnaire communautaire", with Timothy Allen and Charles Cooney, Repères Do-Ri-F, n.14, "Dictionnaires, culture numérique et décentralisation de la norme dans l’espace Francophone", December 2017.
- “La Littérature à l’âge des algorithmes,” with Robert Morrissey and Glenn Roe, Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France, vol. 116, no 3 (2016): 595-617.
- "Discourses and Disciplines in the Enlightenment: Topic Modeling the French Encyclopédie", with Glenn Roe and Robert Morrissey, Frontiers in Digital Humanities, Vol. 2, 2016.
- "Constructive Visual Analytics for Text Similarity Detection" with Alfie Abdul-Rahman, Glenn Roe, Mark Olsen, Robert Morrissey, Nicholas Cronk, and Min Chen, Computer Graphics Forum (February 2016). doi:10.1111/cgf.12798
- "PhiloLogic4: an Abstract TEI Query System", with Timothy Allen and Richard Whaling, Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative, Issue 5, June 2013.
- "Le citoyen et l'Encyclopédie", Dix-Huitième Siècle, numéro 42, 2010.