This paper presents a computational method for assessing the uses of the category “genre.” It takes as its example the long-standing “Adam Smith” problem, which seeks to settle whether Smith’s two major works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations are compatible with each other and can be seen as contributing to a larger “system” of inquiry embarked upon by Smith.
The Uses of Genre: Is There an “Adam Smith Question”?
Ewan Jones is University Lecturer in the Nineteenth Century at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Coleridge and the Philosophy of Poetic Form (Cambridge, 2014) and is currently writing a monograph on the history of the concept of rhythm.
Paul Nulty is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Career-FIT Research Fellow at the National Centre for Applied Data Analytics and Machine Intelligence (CeADAR), University College Dublin, Ireland. He previously worked on the Concept Lab project at Cambridge University, and his research focuses on applications of natural language processing to problems in social science and the humanities.
Gabriel Recchia is a Research Associate at the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge. His background is in cognitive science and in computational approaches to natural language processing such as distributional modeling, which he is currently applying at the Winton Centre to better understand how risk is communicated and perceived.
John Regan is a lecturer in Literature and the Digital at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Poetry and the Idea of Progress, 1760–1790 and is currently writing a book investigating the historical development of knowledge structures in the Anglophone eighteenth century.
Peter de Bolla is Professor of Cultural History and Aesthetics at the University of Cambridge, where he also directed the Cambridge Concept Lab. His most recent monograph is The Architecture of Concepts: The Historical Formation of Human Rights (Fordham, 2013), and he is currently writing a book on the artist Pierre Bonnard.
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Ryan Healey, Ewan Jones, Paul Nulty, Gabriel Recchia, John Regan, Peter de Bolla; The Uses of Genre: Is There an “Adam Smith Question”?. Representations 1 February 2020; 149 (1): 73–102. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2020.149.1.73
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