Christopher Warren


Bacon and Edges: Reassembling the Early Modern Social Network

2013 Seminar Series / Thursday 5 December, 2013


Scholars in the humanities have long been engaged with reconstructing and representing social networks of various kinds. Coteries, conventicles, ‘tribes’, and trade associations – each has been the subject of intense research and publication. As historian Anthony Grafton notes, ‘the interpretation of texts now goes hand in hand with the reconstruction of intellectual and publishing communities’. In this podcast, Christopher Warren argues that the traditional medium of scholarly exchange, prose, is only one tool with which one can attempt to represent complex networks of association.

Although we already have vast knowledge of intellectual, literary and social networks, that knowledge is often not encoded, visible, or widely available in the most useful way. This presentation introduces a collaborative project called Six Degrees of Francis Bacon that learns from centuries of ‘inky’ data and metadata, re-mediating text to make the early modern social network more accessible, extensible, collaborative, and interoperable.