Identifying colonial traces in early modern travelogues

Zentralbibliothek Zürich provides a text corpus of printed travelogues from the 16th to 19th century. Can you identify and extract colonial traces in these French and German texts? For instance, you could try describe the gaze on the "other" by tracking down mentions of geographic regions, different languages, certain ethnicities or one of the following semantic fields with NLP methods:

  • the concept of the "noble savage"
  • slavery
  • representation of dominance
  • hierarchies and structures of control

For instance, the last field could be looked at from an economic, military, cultural or political perspective. Starting from a military perspective, word clusters like "Truppe – Fortifikation – Kriegszug - verfolgt – Beute – Treueeid – schwören – Vasall – kniend - Tribut" could be interesting to search for inside the German texts.

GLAMhack 2023