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An Automated Digital Analysis of Depictions of Child Maltreatment in Ancient Roman Writings
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Historians, mostly engaging with written evidence, have argued that the Christianisation of the Roman Empire resulted in changes in both attitudes and behaviour towards children, resulting in a decrease in their maltreatment by society. I begin with a working hypothesis that this attitude-change was real and resulted in a reduction in the maltreatment of children; and that this reduction in maltreatment is evident in the literature. The approach to investigating this hypothesis belongs to the emerging field of digital humanities: by using programming techniques developed in the field of sentiment analysis, I create two sentiment-analysis like tools, one a lexicon-based approach, the other an application of a naive bayes machine learning approach. The latter is favoured as more accurate. The tool is used to automatically tag sentences, extracted from a corpus of texts written between 100 B.C and 600 A.D, that mention children, as to whether the sentences feature the maltreatment of children or not. The results are then quantitively analysed with reference to the year in which the text was written, with no statistically significant result found. However, the high accuracy of the tool in tagging sentences, at above 88%, suggests that similar tools may be able to play an important role, alongside traditional research techniques, in historical and social-science research in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
digital humanities, child maltreatment, ancient rome, christianity, sentiment analysis, naive bayes
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-398413OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-398413DiVA, id: diva2:1375763
Subject / course
Religion in Peace and Conflict
Educational program
Master Programme in Religion in Peace and Conflict
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-12-06 Created: 2019-12-06 Last updated: 2019-12-06Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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