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TALK: “Listening from Afar: Topic Modeling Analysis of Testimonies from the International Criminal Tribunals”

March 12, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Scholarly Innovation Lab, Charles E. Young Research Library + Google Map

Dr. Renana Keydar

While topic modeling is widely used in Digital Humanities, its application in the legal field has thus far been reserved mainly to litigation practices. Despite its proven usefulness in other text-based disciplines, topic modeling has not yet made inroads into academic legal scholarship. My research aims to bridge this disciplinary gap. In my talk, I will present the results of a new study analyzing large testimonial dataset using unsupervised topic modeling. Applying LDA topic modeling to a corpus of court transcripts taken from a case before the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), I present a novel method for empirically assessing the international tribunals’ capacity to listen to large numbers of eye-witnesses. Harnessing the large quantity of testimonies, I use topic modeling in order to explore latent themes, semantic fields and gaps between the language of the victims and that of the court.


Dr. Renana Keydar is a post doctoral fellow in the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She holds a degree in law and political science from Tel Aviv University and a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. Prior to her graduate studies, Renana served as an advocate in the Israeli State Attorney’s Office – High Court of Justice Department. Starting next year, Renana will join the faculties of law and humanities in the Hebrew University.


March 12, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Scholarly Innovation Lab
Charles E. Young Research Library
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Digital Humanities Program
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