An evolving elite: New York Times obituaries, 1851-2022 | Professor David Strang

‘I present preliminary findings from an ongoing investigation of obituaries published in The New York Times. These accounts provide insight into social understandings of worth and achievement. Whose lives does the Times choose to publicly celebrate, and what does the decision to remember some individuals and not others tell us about a changing social landscape and social consciousness? The project draws on recent advances in automated textual analysis to examine some 60,000 obituaries appearing in the last 40 years as well as a random sample of 6,000 obituaries published over the paper’s history. Results center on trends in the background and achievements of the obituarized, and on the structure of the social network arising from the way their lives intersect.’ – David Strang, Cornell University

Please email to be sent a link to join the online seminar via MS Teams.