Category Archives: Text Mining

Is “Data” a Four-letter Word?

I’m not going to be able to make it to THATCamp but I’m not letting that stop me from proposing a session…

Recently there has been a bit of a kerfuffle over the use of the term “data” to describe the people and traditions religious studies scholars study. On one side, some scholars find this term to be dehumanizing. On the other side, some scholars think it is a useful term for cordoning off one’s object of study. The debate can be found here, here, here, and here.

Yet, it strikes me that the use of the term “data” in this debate is not the same “data” that many digital humanists use. Or is it? That’s what I’m wondering. How do digital approaches to religious studies alter our notions of “data” and what counts as “data?” Is a digital religious studies de-humanizing? What is our data?