For many scholars who are not themselves historians of political thought, the major use of official records is as a benchmark for studying other kinds of development. Official records of modern political bodies are widely available in digitized form and provide one of the primary sources with which digital historians have trained their methods. This article applies the process of "reducing" textual expressions to regular form to investigate how British members of Parliament talked about empire in extremely general terms: which places did they mention, how much, and in what context. Reducing parliamentary speech to regular occurrences makes it possible to quantitatively generalize about regular and predictable structures—for example, the Eurocentric bias of Parliament and Parliament's bias toward portion of the empire under long command, with certain notable exceptions. The technique lends itself to a wide variety of other scholarly contexts.
digital humanities, british empire
Journal of World History
Guldi, Jo, "The Official Mind’s View of Empire, in Miniature: Quantifying World Geography in Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates" (2021). History Faculty Publications. 14.