My dissertation project, “A ‘Humanities-Centered’ History of Machine Learning,” offers a new literary and intellectual history of machine learning as it emerged in the U.S. mid-century. To do so, I trace how works of modernist literature and philosophy influenced the development of artificial intelligence, specifically in the work of researcher Herbert A. Simon (1916–2001). Working from a novel digital archive of Simon’s papers, totaling about 37,000 PDFs, the project describes linkages between Simon’s technical and scientific writing and translates them back into key texts in literature and the humanities. 

CommitteeJeffrey J. Williams (chair), Simon DeDeoJon Klancher, and Annette Vee (University of Pittsburgh).

Funding: This research has been generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Victoria’s Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, and The Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota.