Speaker: Kristoffer Nielbo, Jan Kostkan, Katrine F. Baunvig, Ekaterina Borisova and Armin W. Geertz
Affiliation: 1, Center for Humanities Computing, Aarhus University, Denmark; 2, The Grundtvig Study Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark; 3, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Germany; 4, Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark
Title: Oscillation between Contemplation and Revelation - Recurrence and Change in the Life History of Teresa of Ávila
Abstract: Advancements in language technology and applied mathematics offer a plethora of tools that can enrich textual cultural heritage research. Using an information-theoretical approach to author profiling, this paper tries to leverage some of these tools to reconstruct mental states in the Early Modern Spanish author Teresa of Avila. We shift away from traditional static textual feature analysis and instead approach author profiling as a dynamic problem, requiring a representation of the author’s life history. Teresa of Avila was an Early Modern Spanish mystic and Carmelite nun whose authorship offers a unique dataset due to her prolific output and well-preserved, digitized writings. We model Teresa’s letter corpus as a complex system with multiple states and try to track her mental and socio-cultural dynamics through lexical co-occurrence structures and affective valences in her letters. We find that Teresa’s letters reflect a life history of state switching between contemplation and revelation. This relatively new approach offers a more robust and dynamic perspective on author profiling in cultural heritage research.