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Dr. Robert  Nelson
Dr. Robert Nelson
Director, Digital Scholarship Lab

Dr. Robert K. Nelson is the director of the Digital Scholarship Lab. His current research uses a text-mining technique called topic modeling to uncover themes and reveal historical patterns in massive amounts of text from the Civil War era.  He is currently completing two projects from this research.  One is a digital project that will publish and analyze multiple topic models of Civil War-era archives including the Richmond Daily Dispatch and the New York Times.  The other is an essay that analyzes these models to produce a comparative analysis of Union and Confederate nationalism and patriotism.


"'The forgetfulness of sex': Devotion and Desire in the Courtship Letters of Angelina Grimké and Theodore Dwight Weld," Journal of Social History 37 (Spring 2004): 663-679

"Debating Manliness: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, William Sloane Kennedy, and the Question of Whitman" (co-authored with Kenneth M. Price), American Literature 73 (September 2001): 496-524

Additional Publications

"Of Monsters, Men—and Topic Modeling," New York Times Disunion Blog, May 29, 2011

Contact Information
Digital Scholarship Lab Boatwright Memorial Library
(804) 484-1555
Areas of Expertise
19th century United States
Digital humanities