Associate Professor, Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Co-Director, Text Lab, University of Chicago
Hoyt comes to Metaknowledge with an interest in how social network analysis, corpus analysis, and other computational methods can facilitate large-scale comparative inquiries into the social dynamics of cultural production. Specifically, he is interested in what these methods can tell us about the diffusion of artistic style and form, the role of formal and informal social ties in shaping such processes, and the emergence of system-level dynamics across linguistic and political boundaries. Along these lines, he Directs a collaborative initiative with Richard Jean So called ‘Text Lab’, which applies these methods to the study of global modernism in the early 20th century.
Hoyt’s research and teaching center on modern Japan, with particular interests in regional literature, publishing history, media and communication, and environmental history. He also has an interest in the application of social-scientific methods to the study of how texts and ideas emerge and circulate within social and material systems.
In a current book project, Hoyt joins this sociological interest with his interest in the history of communication in Japan. Specifically, Hoyt looks at how developments in communications technology at the turn of the last century impacted practices of writing, patterns of social association, and ideas of communication itself. Utilizing a variety of materials (epistolary fiction, letter-writing manuals, correspondence magazines), he uncovers emerging fantasies and beliefs about the meaning of connection in a postal age, particularly as they related to changing notions about handwriting, voice, memory, and brevity.