International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Call for Papers


Text-mining in the Digital Humanities: The Interface between Conceptual History, Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics.


Lancaster University     Thu 13 – Fri 14 May 2010


The aim of this interdisciplinary workshop is to explore the potential for collaboration between researchers in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), Corpus Linguistics (CL) and Conceptual History (CH), the study of key socio-political concepts in their historical context (see


Recent studies by mainly Lancaster-based researchers have suggested the methodological synergy that can result from combining CDA and corpus-linguistic approaches. Meanwhile, the discourse-historical approach in CDA developed by Ruth Wodak (Lancaster) overlaps with CH in its study of the discursive construction of collective identities that can themselves be seen as concepts, each with their own history. Finally, the development of increasingly sophisticated software programs, such as Lancaster’s UCREL Semantic Analysis System, opens up exciting new research possibilities for mining the ever-increasing number of historical texts available in digital form. The workshop will provide a unique opportunity for researchers in CH, CDA and CL to discover how they might benefit from mutual collaboration. It should also be of interest to anyone in the Humanities and Social Sciences who works with texts and/or deals with basic socio-political concepts, including collective identities.


Guest speakers will include Jan Ifversen (Head of Institute for History and Area Studies, Aarhus University), Hans-Erich Boedeker (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin), both from the History of Political and Social Concepts Group, and Gerlinde Mautner (Vienna University of Economics and Business), who pioneered the use of corpus-linguistic techniques in CDA. The workshop will also include demonstrations of various software programs.


Abstracts (200-300 words)

We invite the submission of proposals for 20-minute papers from scholars working in:


·         Conceptual History (including historical semantics and metaphor history)

·         Critical Discourse Analysis (including critical metaphor analysis and cognitive approaches)

·         Corpus Linguistics (including historical text-mining and keyword extraction)


Possible topic areas for papers include, but are not limited to:


  • Case studies in using historical corpora
  • Concepts, texts and discourses
  • Conceptual history vs historical semantics
  • Conceptual contestation / conceptual innovation
  • Critical metaphor analysis and cognitive approaches
  • Different national approaches
  • Identities as concepts
  • The importance of context(s)
  • Reconstructing semantic fields
  • The role of concepts in the discourse-historical approach
  • What corpus linguistics can and cannot do
  • What makes a key word key?

Workshop fee


Full delegate rate                      £40

Postgraduate Researchers    £20

(The fees include lunches and morning and afternoon refreshments on both days.)


Important dates


26 March 2010 Deadline for abstracts, to be sent to Prof. Anne Wichmann ()

1 April 2010    Notification of acceptance

23 April 2010  Deadline for registration and payment of conference fees.


Further information (accommodation, travel etc) will soon be available at  


For queries in the meantime please contact one of the organisers.




Neil Foxlee                  or

Anne Wichmann          or

Paul Rayson                

Paul Baker                  

Dawn Archer              





We are very grateful for the support of


  • Lancaster University, Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS).


  • University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston, UK.