Hoyt Long, Ph.D.
My teaching and research center on modern Japan, with specific interests in the history of media and communication, cultural analytics, sociology of literature, book history, and environmental history.
My work in media history is currently centered around the project Socializing Media: Japanese Letters and the Modeling of an Information Society, 1880-1930. This project examines the ways that changes in communications technology at the turn of the last century impacted practices of writing, patterns of social association, and ideas about communication. Drawing on a variety of archival sources that include letter-writing guides and epistolary fiction, it seeks to uncover the shifting meaning of connection in a postal age, particularly as related to discourses and practices around handwriting, voice, memory, and brevity.
Cultural analytics (which falls under the larger umbrella of digital humanities), is my other area of primary pedagogical and research interest. I have written (or co-written) a number of essays that use computational methods to study the history of literary modernism across the Pacific and am currently working toward a larger book project called Measures of Difference: Quantitative Reasoning and the Origins of Modern Japanese Literature. The book demonstrates how digital methods can augment our knowledge of literary history while tracing the longer history of how writers and critics in Japan have sought to translate words into numbers.
In addition to co-directing the Chicago Text Lab and the Textual Optics Lab at the University of Chicago, I am also a member of Knowledge Lab and NovelTM and serve on the editorial board of CA: Journal of Cultural Analytics. Current digital projects include Aozora Search, an online search interface for the Aozora Bunko collection, and a collaboration with the History of Black Writing project at the University of Kansas to digitize 1,000 African-American novels.
My first book, On Uneven Ground, similarly grew out of an interest in the sociology of language and literary forms. It takes up the relation of cultural production to spatial imagination in Japan’s interwar period, giving specific attention to writer Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933). The book offers a history of cultural production from the perspective of Japan’s domestic periphery and proposes a new methodology for tracing genealogies of local imagining across space and time.
- “(Il)legibility and Handwriting in Meiji Letters: A Media History,” positions: asia critique (May, 2017).
- “Turbulent Flow: A Computational Model of World Literature,” with Richard So, Modern Language Quarterly (September, 2016).
- “Literary Pattern Recognition: Modernism between Close Reading and Machine Learning,” with Richard So, Critical Inquiry (Winter, 2016).
- “Fog and Steel: Mapping Communities of Translation in an Information Age,” Journal of Japanese Studies (Summer, 2015).
- “Network Analysis and the Sociology of Modernism,” with Richard So, boundary 2 (Summer, 2013).
- On Uneven Ground: Miyazawa Kenji and the Making of Place in Modern Japan (Stanford University Press, 2012).
- “Performing the Village Square in Interwar Japan: Toward a Hidden History of Public Space,” Journal of Asian Studies 70.3 (August, 2011).
- Introduction to Digital Humanities (Grad)
- Network Analysis, Literary Criticism, and the Digital Humanities (Grad)
- Japanese Modernisms (Grad)
- Media, History, East Asia (Grad)
- The Question of Minor Literature in Modern Japan (Grad)
- The Modern Japanese Novel (Undergrad)
- Imagining Environment in East Asia (Undergrad)