Text-mining in the Digital Humanities: The Interface between Conceptual History, Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics

Lancaster University Thu 13 - Fri 14 May 20

The aim of this interdisciplinary workshop is to explore the potential for collaboration between researchers in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), Corpus Linguistics (CL) and Conceptual History (CH), the study of key socio-political concepts in their historical context (see http://www.concepta-net.org/conceptual_history).

Recent studies by mainly Lancaster-based researchers have suggested the methodological synergy that can result from combining CDA and corpus-linguistic approaches. Meanwhile, the discourse-historical approach in CDA developed by Ruth Wodak (Lancaster) overlaps with CH in its study of the discursive construction of collective identities that can themselves be seen as concepts, each with their own history. Finally, the development of increasingly sophisticated software programs, such as Lancaster's UCREL Semantic Analysis System (USAS) and the variant spelling detector (VARD), opens up exciting new research possibilities for mining the ever-increasing number of historical texts available in digital form. The workshop will provide a unique opportunity for researchers in CH, CDA and CL to discover how they might benefit from mutual collaboration. It should also be of interest to anyone in the Humanities and Social Sciences who works with texts and/or deals with basic socio-political concepts, including collective identities.

Guest speakers will include Jan Ifversen (Executive Secretary of the History of Political and Social Concepts Group and Head of the Institute for History and Area Studies, Aarhus University); Michal Krzyzanowski (Senior Research Fellow in Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University); Michaela Mahlberg (editor of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics and Associate Professor in English Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham); and Gerlinde Mautner (Professor and Head of the Institute for English Business Communication at the Vienna University of Economics and Business), who pioneered the use of corpus-linguistics techniques in CDA. The workshop will also include demonstrations of various software programs.

Abstracts (200-300 words)

We invite the submission of proposals for 20-minute papers relating to the general theme of the workshop from scholars working in:

Please bear in mind the interdisciplinary nature and theme of the workshop when considering a proposal. Possible topic areas for papers include, but are not limited to:

Conference fee

Full delegate rate £40
Postgraduate Researchers £20
(The fees include lunches and morning and afternoon refreshments on both days.)


For registration, please visit our online payment site.

Important dates

26 March 2010 Deadline for abstracts. These are to be sent to Prof. Anne Wichmann (a.wichmann@virgin.net)
1 April 2010 Notification of acceptance
23 April 2010 Deadline for registration and payment of conference fees.


The final programme is now available along with the book of abstracts.

Travel, workshop location and other practical details

Lancaster is small - the pedestrian area with shops and pubs is compact, and all within a few minutes of the train station and most of the hotels and B&Bs mentioned below. We will arrange an optional evening meal on Thursday in the town centre. Lancaster University campus is about 3 miles outside the town, close to the M6 motorway. It is a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the station, and there is also a frequent bus service between the town and the university. If you would like some advice about where to stay or how to get here, please contact one of the organisers.

For any further information on travel, please visit http://www.lancs.ac.uk/travel/travel.htm and http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/transport-and-travel/public-transport/ for public transport information. Maps of campus and the local area can be found at http://www.lancs.ac.uk/travel/maps.htm.

The workshop will be held in the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) Meeting Rooms 2 and 3. This is number 17 on the campus map. There will be a fixed Windows computer in the workshop location. Please bring slides on a USB memory stick for transfer to the computer for presentation. Wifi access will be available on campus and usernames will be provided to access the university network. Eduroam users should be able to connect directly to wifi.


The conference has three provisional block bookings, one on campus and two in town. In each case you are asked to contact the hotel or residence directly, indicating that you are attending a conference at the University. Rooms were booked under the name of Anne Wichmann (you may need to spell this!).

Block bookings
1. Penny Street Bridge Hotel
NB: Rooms will be held only until 23 April 2010. This is an attractively refurbished Victorian hostelry, a short taxi ride from the University (5-10 minutes) and a few minutes walk from the centre of town. It is a 10-minute walk from the station. Food is served until about 9.30pm. We have reserved 10 rooms for the two nights 12 - 14 May at a reduced rate of £65 per night including breakfast. Our guest speakers will be accommodated here.

Tel: 01524 599900
Fax: 01524 599901
Email: info@pennystreetbridge.co.uk

2. A slightly faded (prices reflect this) 'grand' hotel in the centre of Lancaster. 3 minutes walk from the station. We have reserved 5 single rooms for three nights (12, 13, 14 May) at £35 per person including breakfast. The confirmation numbers are 18170, 18171, 18172, 18173 and 18174. If you call to book you will need to quote one of the reference numbers or my name. Limited parking available.
Best Western Royal Kings Arms Hotel, 75 Market Street, Lancaster, LA1 1HP.
Tel: 01524 32451 Fax: 01524 841698
Email: reservations.lancaster@ohiml.com

3. University Guest Rooms (on the university campus)
NB Rooms will be held only until 23 April.
We have reserved 10 guest rooms for 12-14 May: 4 standard single (shared bathroom) @ £20.45 per night - room only; 6 ensuite single £ 30.43 per night - room only. Please quote this reference number when you book: 35548/5033. To book, email guestrooms@lancaster.ac.uk

Other possibilities, depending on budget, are:

Lancaster House Hotel
A four star hotel on the edge of the university campus (3 miles from town centre).
Rooms round £90 - £120 per night depending on when and how you book.
Reservations: 08458 509 508
Tel: +44 (0)1524 844822
Fax: +44 (0)1524 844766
E-mail: lancaster@elhmail.co.uk

The Greaves (pub and hotel) (Single ensuite from £40)
Tel +44 (0)1524 39344
On main road between town and University. Convenient if in car, or if taking bus to university.

Old Station House (Bed & Breakfast) (Single ensuite £35 - £50)
As the name suggests, this is just outside the station, and a three minute walk from the town centre.
Tel +44 (0)1524 381060

The Shakespeare (Bed & Breakfast) (Single ensuite £35 with full English breakfast)
A welcoming B&B in the town centre. About 7 minutes on foot from the station. Under £3 taxi from station. Meter parking nearby.
Email theshakespearelancaster@talktalk.net
Tel +44 (0)1524 841041

Sun Hotel
From £65 per night (price per room)
This is a newly refurbished hotel and pub in the centre of town. 5 minutes walk from the station.
Tel +44 (0)1524 66006

Conference dinner

Delegates are invited to join us for dinner on Thursday 13 May in the centre of Lancaster. The informal meal will consist of paella, a variety of tapas, sangria, wine or soft drinks and coffee. The price is £20. Please indicate whether you would like to join us for dinner when you register for the workshop. The dinner will take place at 7:30pm at the 1725 restaurant in Lancaster. For location, please view the 1725 location map.


Neil Foxlee (University of Central Lancashire)
Anne Wichmann (University of Central Lancashire)
Paul Rayson (Lancaster University)
Paul Baker (Lancaster University)
Dawn Archer (University of Central Lancashire)


We are very grateful for the support of