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PEOPLE HEAR THE TITLE FIRST: A Mixed-Method Study of the Cultural Place of Science Fiction Across Media, Genres, and Decades ERIC S. RABKIN Associate Provost.

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Presentation on theme: "PEOPLE HEAR THE TITLE FIRST: A Mixed-Method Study of the Cultural Place of Science Fiction Across Media, Genres, and Decades ERIC S. RABKIN Associate Provost."— Presentation transcript:

1 PEOPLE HEAR THE TITLE FIRST: A Mixed-Method Study of the Cultural Place of Science Fiction Across Media, Genres, and Decades ERIC S. RABKIN Associate Provost for Online Education Stony Brook University RAINER HILSCHER Epidemiology Univ of Michigan 06 Sep

2 Hypothesis 2 Science Fiction, even viewed only by its titles, serves cultural roles that vary systematically across media, genres, and decades.

3 Hypothesis 3 Science Fiction, even viewed only by its titles, serves cultural roles that vary systematically across media, genres, and decades. Corollary 1: Culture can be understood as a complex adaptive system. Corollary 2: Science Fiction is a useful test case for cultural analysis. Corollary 3: Cultural analysis can gain from the study of titling patterns.

4 Hypothesis 4 Science Fiction, even viewed only by its titles, serves cultural roles that vary systematically across media, genres, and decades. Step 1: Study of SF short stories and TIME Magazine Step 2: Study of titling patterns for works of fiction Corollary 1: Culture can be understood as a complex adaptive system. Corollary 2: Science Fiction is a useful test case for cultural analysis. Corollary 3: Cultural analysis can gain from the study of titling patterns.

5 Relations of Fiction and Non-Fiction 5

6 Why Science Fiction? 6

7 TIME Magazine Cover Subjects

8 % Heroism Themes in 20 th C. American SF Stories 8

9 TIME Magazine Cover Subjects

10 SF Short Story Title-Word Cloud 10 Zachary C. Wright, 2010, using GEP data on wordle.net

11 Titles … 1) Label 2) Engage Prospectively Retrospectively 3) Categorize 11

12 Comparability of Short Story Data Sets 12

13 Normalizing Algorithm 13 1.Download and read ISFDB, IMDB, and GEP databases into a common database coding for titles, time period, genre, and medium in order to generate title-word frequency lists with a cut-off of top twenty. (Non-English words, which were few, were excluded via a list produced by inspection and filtering with a regular expression.) 2.Merge words that form a logical unit (e.g., Flash Gordon) that should not be counted individually. 3.Tokenize title words using the Python NLTK package. 4.Apply two regular expressions, one to identify words that contain only English letters and are at least two letters long and one to identify references to years (shown by inspection to be, in practice, all instances of four-digit numbers). 5.Filter with a stop list words of low discriminatory power in this context (e.g., articles and pronouns). 6.Filter with a custom-made stop list generated by inspection (e.g., some foreign words such as du, en, and il). 7.Custom lemmatize (a) to supplement omissions in NTLKs lemmatizer and (b) to create hypernyms (e.g. girl and woman subsumed under girl-woman). 8.Check for titles with the same word used at least twice, returning n-occurences and a single token for that word in that title. Final set of processed title words were output to Excel for further analysis.

14 SF Story Title-Word Frequencies Across Datasets 14

15 Comparisons of Medium and Genre 15

16 SF Title-Word Frequencies Across Media 16

17 SF Title Words in Stories and Movies 17

18 Movie Title-Word Frequencies Across Genres (I) 18

19 Movie Title-Word Frequencies Across Genres (II) 19

20 Longitudinal Analysis 20

21 SF Story Title-Word Frequencies By Decade 21

22 Mars-Titled Novels (1952) 22

23 Most Popular Mars-Titled Films of the 1950s 23

24 IMDB Mars collocations by genre 24

25 Eyes of Laura Mars 25 Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is a glamorous fashion photographer who specializes in stylized violence. Amid controversy over whether her photographs glorify violence and are demeaning to women, Laura begins seeing, in first person through the eyes of the killer, real-time visions of the murders of her friends and colleagues. John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones), the lieutenant in charge of the case, shows Laura unpublished police photographs of unsolved murders that very closely mirror Laura's fashion shoots. Laura's visions continue, including visions of the killer stalking her and continuing to murder those around her. Meanwhile, Laura and Neville fall in love. The murders continue as Laura's various colleagues, acquaintances and past romantic interests come in and out of focus as potential suspects or victims, until a final confrontation between Laura and the killer occurs. At her apartment, Laura is affected by one last vision of the killer, who has now come for her. The killer attempts to break in through her front door, but Laura deadbolts it before he/she can enter. Upon hearing her distress, Neville (who had been on his way to meet her) breaks through her balcony window. He proceeds to tell Laura they have caught the killer, a troubled colleague of hers named Tommy, and begins an elaborate explanation of Tommy's motivations and back story. Knowing Tommy well, Laura recognizes this as a lie and that Neville himself is the killer. As Neville details more of his own story, it is implied that he may have multiple personalities. Because of this, and his love for her, he cannot bring himself to murder her and instead asks that she end his life. She shoots him dead, calling the police as we close in on her eyes -- the eyes of Laura Mars. – Wikipedia (May 11, 2013)

26 Eyes of Laura Mars 26 Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is a glamorous fashion photographer who specializes in stylized violence. Amid controversy over whether her photographs glorify violence and are demeaning to women, Laura begins seeing, in first person through the eyes of the killer, real-time visions of the murders of her friends and colleagues. John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones), the lieutenant in charge of the case, shows Laura unpublished police photographs of unsolved murders that very closely mirror Laura's fashion shoots. Laura's visions continue, including visions of the killer stalking her and continuing to murder those around her. Meanwhile, Laura and Neville fall in love. The murders continue as Laura's various colleagues, acquaintances and past romantic interests come in and out of focus as potential suspects or victims, until a final confrontation between Laura and the killer occurs. At her apartment, Laura is affected by one last vision of the killer, who has now come for her. The killer attempts to break in through her front door, but Laura deadbolts it before he/she can enter. Upon hearing her distress, Neville (who had been on his way to meet her) breaks through her balcony window. He proceeds to tell Laura they have caught the killer, a troubled colleague of hers named Tommy, and begins an elaborate explanation of Tommy's motivations and back story. Knowing Tommy well, Laura recognizes this as a lie and that Neville himself is the killer. As Neville details more of his own story, it is implied that he may have multiple personalities. Because of this, and his love for her, he cannot bring himself to murder her and instead asks that she end his life. She shoots him dead, calling the police as we close in on her eyes -- the eyes of Laura Mars. – Wikipedia (May 11, 2013)

27 Laura Mars – French poster 27

28 PEOPLE HEAR THE TITLE FIRST 28

29 Abstract 29 People Hear the Title First: A Mixed-Method Study of the Cultural Place of Science Fiction Across Media, Genres, and Decades Michigan Complexity Mini-Conference 13 May 2013 Eric S. Rabkin, English Language & Literature and Art & Design, University of Michigan Rainer Hilscher, Epidemiology, University of Michigan

30 PEOPLE HEAR THE TITLE FIRST: Titles as Multidimensional Markers of Cultural Dynamics, Textual Content, and Peoples Imaginations ERIC S. RABKIN English Language & Literature Art & Design Univ of Michigan RAINER HILSCHER Epidemiology Univ of Michigan 12 Apr

31 PEOPLE HEAR THE TITLE FIRST: A Mixed-Method Study of the Cultural Place of Science Fiction Across Media, Genres, and Decades ERIC S. RABKIN English Language & Literature Art & Design Univ of Michigan RAINER HILSCHER Epidemiology Univ of Michigan 12 Apr


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