Reviews of the book

Pat Hudson wrote a review of our book on eh.net. Having herself authored an introduction to quantitative methods in history (more centered than ours on economic and demographic history), she describes what we do and don’t offer in our book with a lot of fair play. This companion website is intended to address some of the shortcomings that she identified in our – indeed short – book.

Teaching with our book

We could only write our book because we have taught quantitative methods (mostly to historians, also to other humanists and social scientists) for more than 15 years. In France as elsewhere, however, there are few courses specifically aimed at historians or humanists – or they only address specific methods (GIS, network analysis, text analysis, etc.) and seldom discuss inputting and categorizing data. Therefore, our first intention when we wrote the initial, French version of the book in 2007 was to offer a self-help handbook: something that beginning graduate students (and any person beginning a research) could use to learn the basics on their own; the book and the companion website would point them to further readings and tutorials. The English book of 2019 can be used in the same way (here are some ways to read it on your own, depending on your needs).

If, however, you are teaching quantitative history, or digital humanities, or methods generally, and you want to devote at least a few lessons to the contents of our book, this post will give you a general idea of our own teaching formats. We are very willing to discuss ways to teach quantitative methods to diverse audiences (in comments here, over e-mail, in conferences, etc.). Continue reading “Teaching with our book”

How should I read this book?

This book is intended for many different audiences. We hope that you will read it bit by bit, but return to it often. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

We also hope that you will read papers, books, tutorials, or blog entries afterwards: the book is not a self-contained object (even with its accompanying blog). It is an invitation to discover quantitative research that respects the core values of humanistic research – and is engaging! In this blog, we point you to our favorite papers/books cited in each chapter, so that you can plan further readings. Continue reading “How should I read this book?”

Praise for the book by colleagues we admire

Of course we will value reviews in journals and your own feedback even more. But for now, we are lucky enough to be able to exhibit blurbs by colleagues whose work – and efforts to make quantification compatible with historical practice – we admire. Continue reading “Praise for the book by colleagues we admire”

What is this blog?

This site is under construction! (and classically, it’s not coming out as fast as we had hoped – sorry for this!) We will regularly add new posts to the “How to” and “Good Reads” categories, so as to (hopefully) cover all methods addressed in the book. Meanwhile, do not hesitate to use comments if you want to send us feedback or you wishlist for the site.

This is the companion blog to the book Quantitative Methods in the Humanities. An Introduction, published by Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc (University of Virginia Press, 2019). In the book, we explain why quantitative methods could become a useful addition to the historians’ and humanists’ toolkits and books of recipes. In this blog, we give you a more direct access to the actual tools and recipes thanks to tutorials, focuses on particularly interesting papers, pointers to software, and much more. Like the book, this blog is written for all historians and humanists, not specifically for those who consider themselves as “digital humanists” or quantifiers. Our aim is to make quantification accessible without mathematical formalism and to show that it can be useful beyond specific themes such as economic or demographic history. For now, this perhaps looks like a static website rather than a blog, because we have to put together the main pointers (further readings, tutorials, etc.). In the future, we’ll have actual blog posts commenting on new research, new tools, etc.