New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS)


East Asian Studies in a Digital World

ABSTRACT: It seems so sudden. First we had had email and then we had searchable text; now we have "Big Data" and MOOCs. The methodologies of communicating, of teaching, of research—all are changing. There are conceptual leaps to be made if we are to make use of new technologies, but are there new questions to be asked? Or is it simply that the nergy and time given over to mastering the software of geographic information systems, relational databases, social network analysis, text-mining and text-modeling give us an excuse to avoid the hard work of close-reading and deep analysis? What are we losing? What are we gaining?

Peter K. Bol

Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages Civilization
Director of the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis

Peter K. Bol is the Charles H. Carswell Professor East Asian Languages and Civilizations. His research is centered on the history of China's cultural elites at the national and local levels from the 7th to the 17th century. He is the author of "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China, Neo-Confucianism in History, coauthor of Sung Dynasty Uses of the I-ching, co-editor of Ways with Words, and numerous journal articles in Chinese, Japanese, and English. He led Harvard's university-wide effort to establish support for geospatial analysis in teaching and research; in 2005 he was named the first director of the Center for Geographic Analysis. He also directs the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project, a collaboration between Harvard and Fudan University in Shanghai to create a GIS for 2000 years of Chinese history. He directs the China Biographical Database project in a collaboration between Harvard, Academia Sinica, and Peking University, an online relational database currently of 130,000 historical figures, mainly of the Tang through Qing periods, that aims to include all men and women in the China's historical records.

Last Updated: 4/21/14