j. berenike herrmann


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Welcome to my webpage!

I am professor of Newer German Literature with a specialization in Literary Theory and Digital Humanities at the University of Bielefeld and PI at Bielefeld University’s Collaborative Research Centre ‘Practices of comparing: ordering and changing the world’ (SFB 1288). I am also appointed Private Lecturer in Digital Humanities and Newer German Literature at Basel University, and an associate member of the Herman-Paul-School Graduate of Linguistics in Freiburg i. Br., D/Basel, CH. My offices include being speaker of the Community of Practice “Digital Literacy” of BiLinked at Bielefeld University, being current chair of the international ADHO Special Interest Group “Digital Literary Stylistics” SIG DLS, and SCC Collections Member of the NFDI Text +. 2019-2022 I was SIG Liaison at ADHO’s COB. Until its finalization in May 2022, I was Management Committee member of the “COST Action Distant Reading for European Literary History”. In the fall semester 2020/2021, I was visiting professor of Digital Humanities at the Excellence Cluster “Temporal Communities” at FU Berlin.

As a Digital Humanist, I strive to understand the potential as well as the constraints of the data transformation of (global) societies and the Humanities. In my research, with my team at Bielefeld, and in other collaborations, I focus on the digital modeling of literary discourse, with a specific interest in style. To this end, we apply and adapt methods from Data Science, NLP, and Corpus Linguistics, often using quantitative techniques, including Machine Learning, but also hermeneutic and historiographic analyses: mixed methods. We draw on concepts and models from Stylistics, Rhetorics, Literary Historiography, Discourse Analysis, (Neo) Structuralism, and Cognitive Stylistics. One building block for our research are corpora, digitally representing literary artefacts. We also apply cognitive stylistics and reader response studies.

My current main projects are “Vergleichspraktiken in der Genese, Verstetigung und Transformation von «Nationalliteratur». Der Fall Deutschschweiz” at the DFG-Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1288); the SNSF-COST project Distant Reading Topographies of Sentiment, the SNSF-Digital Lives Project Forschungslogiken in den texbasierten DH nach dem Machine Learning Turn, and the DFG-SPP “Computional Literary Studies — CLS” project “CHYLSA” — Children’s and Youth Literature Sentiment Analysis.

My current main research questions

I am also keen on finding out more about the effects of reading on well-being.

Membership in academic societies I am a member of the Association Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum (DHd), the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), as well as of the Schweizerische Gesellschaft für allgemeine und vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft (SGAVL/ASLGC). Among my affiliations are also the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature & Media (IGEL); German Society for Cognitive Linguistics (DGKL), Sektion Computerlinguistik (CL) der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS); and Deutscher Hochschulverband (DHV).

Academic bio I hold a PhD on the topic of metaphor in discourse from VU University Amsterdam (at the prequel of the Amsterdam Metaphor Lab, for which I received the Prize for Humanities from the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 2014. From 2017-2021, I worked as postdoc research associate (“Oberassistentin”) at the DHLab at the University of Basel (Switzerland), and before that I was postdoc research associate (“wiss. Mitarbeiterin”) at the Seminar für Deutsche Philologie at University of Göttingen (Germany) and the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities. I obtained my MA (German Language and Literature, Sociology, and Spanish Language and Literature) at the University of Göttingen, studied at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (DAAD Year Stipend), and I was a trainee at the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology.

Keywords: Artifical Intelligence, Data Literacy, Digital Literary Studies, Computational Literay Studies, Digital Humanities, Literary Theory, Comparative Corpus Stylistics, Cognitive Stylistics, Cultural Heritage, Literary Valuation, Digital Social Reading, Franz Kafka, Metaphor Studies, Children’s Literature, Sentiment Analysis, Spatial Humanities.