Uncovered Questions

After experimenting with the Interrogating Marxism apps, I came up with some intriguing questions:

  1. It is clearly apparent on the Neatline map at http://adiuva.me/neatline/show/interrogating-marxism that most of the red spots that represent the Marxist works in the database for this website are in countries like Britain, France, Germany, and so on. In other words, it seems that a lot of the works were written in Western Europe. Is this true of other Marxist works? And then it is so interesting that a lot of the former Socialist countries were in Eastern Europe, rather than the west, where a lot of our representative Marxist works were written. Why is that? And what about the text from United States? Where is it located in the U.S., and what happened there? Why was it written there? Is there strong Marxist influence at that place today?
  2. In the Ngram frequency results, if we skip all the “stop words” (such as “is, they, and” and so on), the word bourgeois ranks quite high on the list, with a frequency of 331 and a relative frequency of 0.132503%. I found myself quite curious: Why is this word getting so much attention from the Marxist authors?  Who are the bourgeois they were talking about, at the time when the books were written? Is there any way to identify who they are using the other Interrogating Marx(ism) apps? The Chinese equivalent for “bourgeois” (小资产阶级,which literally means “small/little capitalist class”) was and still is very popular in China. It is a wonder that this group is always under the spotlight at different times and in different places. But why? Can we find some answers by examining the Marxist works in the project database? When I was teaching a Chinese class to my students at Hunter College,  they asked me about how to say “bourgeois” in Chinese. When I told them, they disagreed among themselves on the question of “who constitutes the bourgeois (小资产阶级) nowadays.” So I told them the “bourgeois (小资产阶级) “ nowadays are very much like the “Yuppies” in the U.S. Is that a good analogy according to Marxist definitions? Why or why not?
  3. I used the Voyant Tools to analyze the text Women’s Suffrage. I checked the correlations of words in context and saw that there are several words closely correlated with “1890”. These words are: advantages, evident, exploited, and taught. I began wondering what happened in 1890 that connected it with these terms? Would you be interested in venturing a guess and using the Context Search app to locate the keyword “1890” and investigate what actually happened during that year?

6 thoughts on “Uncovered Questions

  1. Dave Williams

    Regarding your first question, the Upper Midwest (Minnesota and Wisconsin) was once regarded as the heart of American Labor Socialism. Although remnants of that tradition remain (for example, the residents of Green Bay, Wisconsin, consider themselves mutual owners of their football team, named after the local meatpacking industry), the tradition has been steadily eroding since the 1950s.


  2. James Mellone

    FYI, I tried the Text Flow search, used both socialism titles, and the results included numerous stop words: but, one, the, first. Also, in Context Search, when my searches have no results I am not told that, all I have is the same screen with a lonesome bullet towards the top. I would like to know for sure that the search failed rather than perhaps still being in progress for x number of seconds.

    1. Dave Williams

      Thanks, Prof. Mellone. Your comments were forwarded to our developer, and he’s working on a solution. Providing feedback for missing results is definitely an important usability issue.


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