Banal Features Analysis

Alt. title: "Dull Feature Analysis."  Today I’m working on a small-time
application of discourse analysis for Method~ologies.  We’re looking at a
corpus of eight student essays.  Initially, I considered how I would graph
Bazerman’s concept of "intertextual reach," which he defines as "how far a text
travels for its intertextual relations" (89).  How far is that?  How
do we account for the span of these traces–meters, leagues, years, decibels,
lumens?  Maybe referential density could draw on network studies. 
How?  We could establish a near intertextual reach as
reference-gestures that share another source.  This would involve a
triangulation of citations: Bazerman–let’s say–cites Porter and Prior. 
But Porter also cites Prior.  Porter is intertextually nearer than Prior
(who does not cite any other source in common with Bazerman).  I’m making
this up.  The far reach would describe the solitary reference–the
singular text-trace that is not shared by any other source cited in the primary
text (the text whose traces and reaches we are surveying).  But I wanted to
think about intertextual reach as a quality that could be determined by
triangulating citations.  Applied to a batch of student essays where
works-to-cite are predefined, intertextual reach seems wobbly–a stretch,
as in…look at how they reach alike.

I’ll need something else. 

Continue reading →