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What is Classical Daoism? A Digital Humanities Approach to Classifying Ancient Chinese Texts
Presenter Lightning Session(s)
Adrien R. Stoloff
City University of New York, Hunter College, United States
In my digital humanities project, I investigate the problem of how to categorize ancient Chinese texts by using statistical methods, such as TF-IDF (term frequency- inverse document frequency), to analyze large amounts of text. I perform a case study, asking what constitutes a classical Daoist text. I first examine what some leading scholars in mainland China, Hong Kong, the United States, and Europe say constitutes such a text. I perform a search using TF-IDF, noting what words there are in these classical Daoist texts and then checking the corpus of the late Warring States/Han dynasty to see which texts are most similar. In this way, I try to find a pattern among Daoist texts, and see if other texts in the corpus are similar. If we can find texts that contain Daoist language, then this is a strong indicator that the texts are indeed classical Daoist.