Research Process & Methodology

Inspiration & Development

This project was inspired by the combination of an essay I wrote for Dr. Steinberg’s HST336 course on Contemporary European History and my Final Digital Humanities Project for Kristen Mapes DH285.

In an essay for HST336, I examined the 1920s interwar political and cultural scene as a transformation in modern society with a traumatized population from the first world war, and in search for stability through strong leadership. I analyzed the similarities and differences between Adolf Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi, as although very different, I argued, embodied the same spirit of the 20th century as a world transformed by modernity. Moreover, both Gandhi and Hitler were mobilized through this transforming sense of modernity and used the current state of their societies to gain influence. Interestingly enough, although both men were given opportunities through this society, they both encouraged a return to the past and gave examples on what needs to be done and the benefits of returning to tradition. Both men were influenced by the shadow of the first world war and felt a necessity to return to purity away from the corruption of the Jews in Germany and the Imperial British in India. This interwar period showed a clear transition to the end of the an era and the birth of a new.

Introduction to the Digital Humanities:

Values of the Digital Humanities:

  • Experimentation
  • Diversity
  • Openness
  • Collaboration
  • Collegiality

My Project and topic hopes to take the values of the Digital Humanities while using contemporary technology and digital tools to enhance research abilities and possibilities for discovery.

Research Process

  1. Historical Context provided by HST336
  2. Research on Specific Rhetorical Themes of 20th Century Charismatic Leadership
    • Seyranian, V., & Bligh, M. C. (2008). Presidential charismatic leadership: Exploring the rhetoric of social change. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(1), 54-76
  3. Choosing Sources
    • Originally analyzes political speeches but found topics to specific to be comparable
    • Decided upon 3 Sources to Conduct Reseach:
      1. Mein Kampf (Hitler)
      2. An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Gandhi)
      3. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule (Gandhi)

4. Used Voyant to Digitally Analysize the text and download a corpus of the words most frequently used and relative frequency

5. Eliminated stopwords, words without relevance, and applied them to categories in a Data spreadsheet to be transmitted into GraphCommons to make the visual network map

6. After Identifying Visual Themes that reference the same idea in the context of the speaker [Germany= India], I used Voyant again to analysis the themes and the positive and negative rhetorical ratio.

Additional Sources

Link to Interactive Network Map:

Trial and Error

This project has changed along the way since I began my formulating my topic over the course of the semester. I changed from focusing on public political speeches to focusing on these three main works for the following reasons

  1. They were written around the same time
  2. They were published as autobiographical works that specifally describe the authors experiences, insights, and critiques regarding their world

I felt this was the best representation of the two leaders writing about the same subject

After using Voyant there proved to be some logistical complications with translational troubles, words without context, and the overcrowding of words that had little relevance or meaning. I then downloaded the complete corpuses of all the most commonly used words and manually illuminated my own stop words (leaving only relevance words with meaning) and correlated each word to a theme to be digitally represented on a network graph.

The network graph also links words to context and provides further information on translations and context. The network graph proved to be the most valuable way to visually identify these themes. I even did this as a way to preface my own research so I could visually see the trends before I analyzed them again into Voyant.

I also would like to point out that I am not by any means trying to say that Hitler and Gandhi are similar in character in any way. But rather I pose the question that perhaps they have commonalities that are often overlooked and reflect greater perspectives of the entire Modern Twentieth Century