“Geographies of Empathy” at SLSA 2022 Conference

There’s been a lot of fascinating scholarship on affective reading and, more recently, on the outsized role of empathic reading and “bibliotherapy” in social media. Inspired by Sarah Brouillette’s recent essay in Post45 and e.g. Joseph Worthen’s on “Empathy Aptitude Reading”, last month John Shanahan presented work-in-progress about “One Book One Chicago” geography data (and subject of a forthcoming paper by John and Mihaela Stoica). The presentation at SLSA 2022 (Society for Literature Science and the Arts) at Purdue explores what it might mean to add our project sets of 30,000+ Goodreads reviews and 5000+ Tweets (and their geographic metadata as applicable) to a set John, Mihaela, and Ana previously mapped for positive and negative sentiment for Chicago place-names.

Can one create geographies of empathy (reading) at the scale of the city?

There is a lot to learn about how given checkout differences per branch (per day) per season, we can make inferences about emotional investment in different readings (fiction/nonfiction, set-in-Chicago/not-in-Chicago). Stay tuned …

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