In Peter Nilsson’s classes, students use computers to help them analyze text. Nilsson is an English teacher by training, but he has embraced the “digital humanities,” teaching students how to code to answer questions about books, speeches, news coverage, rap lyrics and more.
One of his students analyzed the text of all presidential inaugural and farewell addresses to identify common and unique themes among them. Another compared the tone and frequency of New York Times coverage of Harvey Weinstein before and after the emergence of the #MeToo movement, by analyzing every word in every article filed under the Times Topic “Harvey Weinstein.” A third explored which rappers most use internal rhyme, by importing lyrics, converting words to phonemes and analyzing from there.
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