Assignment 5

I collected my data from the Comparative Humanities core courses’ syllabuses.  The three core courses include: HUMN 128 – Myth Reason Faith (18th Century BCE-1295), HUMN 150 – Art Nature Knowledge (1486-1859), and HUMN 250 – Nihilism Modernism Uncertainty (1882-1957).  Together, these courses are advertised as the history of human thought.  They cover works starting in the 18th Century BCE with the Enuma Elish and ending in 1952 with Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.  I listed the title of each work we studied in each of the courses, along with its author, date of publication, coordinates, author’s sex, course it was taught in, and author’s ethnicity.  As curricula aiming to cover such a large time scale, it is impossible to include all notable humanities works in every genre.  Visualizations of the course data can draw attention to the areas that may have become invisible in the process of simplification.

palladio map sized

Using the Palladio mapping feature, I plotted the location of publication/creation of each work we study in the humanities core curriculum.  The highest concentration of works is in London and Paris, with Europe in general heavily represented.  The curriculum does primarily cover Western thought, so this pattern is unsurprising.  However, South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are entirely unrepresented.

palladio graph course ethnicity     gephi author-ethnicity

The gaps in coverage of author nationality/ethnicity in Palladio’s graph function and in Gephi is less immediately obvious than in the Palladio map.  The multitude of nodes gives the false impression of ethnic diversity.  The array of colored nodes in Gephi make it seem like a broad range of ethnic groups are represented in the courses – the network visualizations only show the groups that are represented, not the ones that are invisible.  However, the Palladio graph can compare the relative diversity of one course to another.

palladio graph course genre     gephi title-genre labeled

In both Palladio and Gephi I visualized the genre of each work, with the Palladio graph additionally dividing the genres based on the course they were covered in.  In the Gephi network, the dominance of philosophy and literature is obvious due to the color coding.  The Palladio network is more useful for showing the genres studied in each individual course rather than the total popularity of a single genre across the courses.

palladio graph author sex       gephi author-gender

I separated the authors into categories based on their sex, revealing the obvious and enormous disparity between the number of male and female authors.  Of the eight female authors we discuss in the humanities core courses, five of them (Wollstonecraft, Shelley, Woolf, de Beauvoir, Kaplan) are almost exclusively analyzed within the context of feminism.  Zero of the authors are considered non-binary.  Since the force directed graph in Gephi shrinks the distance between “male” nodes, the gender gap is more visible in Palladio.


gephi title-genre labeled fr modularity      gephi title-genre

The above visualizations of the different genres represented in humanities core syllabuses, both made in Gephi, are examples of different syntax using the same data.  In the Fruchterman-Reingold, radial implosion, the most popular genres do not stand out as obviously as in the force-directed, centralized burst.  The centralized burst, concentrates the most relevant nodes at the center of the visualization, drawing the viewer’s eyes more quickly to the differences between nodes.  Fruchterman-Reingold viewers must search for node color among the evenly-spaced nodes.  One, well-connected node is immediately noticeable, but most of the rest are lost in the sphere.


In both platforms I was unsure of how to visualize all of my data at once.  I can’t color code individual nodes in Palladio as I’d like to, and Gephi gets confused with too many variables.

Speak Your Mind