Paul Vierthaler is currently the 2015-2016 Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Boston College. At Boston College, he is teaching two courses on the digital humanities and offering workshops and advising. In Fall 2015 he is teaching "Hacking the Humanities: Programming and Analysis", an introduction to programming in Python for humanisitic analysis, geared toward advanced undergraduates and graduate students. In Spring 2016 he is teaching "Digital Detectives: Sherlock Holmes", an exploration of the Sherlock Holmes texts using digital tools, designed as an introduction to the digital humanities for younger undergraduates. He is currently continuing his work on his monograph, while also developing bibliographic analysis software (described in more detail on the projects page).

Paul is a former An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University (2014-2015). At the Fairbank Center, he was editing his dissertation into a monograph. While there, he helped develop and run a pilot digital humanities lab space at Harvard for scholars working on China.

Paul specializes in Ming and Qing dynasty literature and the technical digital humanities. His current research focuses on late Ming and early Qing literary representations of recent events, late Imperial print culture and history, genre analysis, and authorship studies. His research incorporates a combination of close reading and traditional critical analysis with natural language processing, corpus linguistics, machine learning and unstructured/structured data analysis. He programs in Ruby, Python, and R. He dabbles in Java and JavaScript (for visualizations). He will be delving into C soon, as he starts to leverage CUDA processing to optimize analysis that involves matrix calculations. He also devotes time to developing software that aids others in digital analysis.

He earned his PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures from Yale University in 2014. His dissertation, “Quasi-history and Public Knowledge: A Social History of late Ming and early Qing Unofficial Historical Narratives”, uses a combination of technical and traditional methods to analyze how recent historical events were represented in fictional, dramatic, and unofficial historical narratives in mid-sixteenth century to early eighteenth century China. It was completed under the direction of Tina Lu.

Paul completed his dissertation while on a Fulbright grant in Taiwan for the 2013-2014 academic year. While there, he was affiliated with the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at the Academia Sinica and worked with Lawrence Yim and Evelyn Liu. He also spent some time working with Guo Yingde at Beijing Normal University during the spring 2014 semester.

Paul earned a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies from Yale in 2008, and a B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures and Political Science from the University of Kansas is 2005.

In addition to spending the 2013-2014 academic year in Taiwan, he has also lived in Beijing for two years, and Kunming, Yunnan from fall 2006 until summer 2007, when he returned to the United States to pursue a Masters degree. In Kunming, he studied Chinese short stories and classical Chinese at Yunnan Normal University. He received the bulk of his formal language training at the University of Kansas (2001-2005), at the Associated Colleges in China (2003-2004), and the Inter-University program (summer 2009).

Paul is a member of the Association for Asian Studies and Phi Beta Kappa. He also runs a semi-active Twitter account, where he tweets about China, the digital humanities, and literature and science in general.

A native of Dodge City, Kansas, Paul is also an avid rock-climber, amateur mechanic, Minecraft aficionado, cocktail enthusiast, and KU basketball fan.


Paul, August 2014 in Harvard Yard