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

​​Speaker: Professor David Strang, Cornell University

Location: Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, 42-43 Park End Street OX1 1JD

Organiser: Michael Biggs, Department of Sociology

Attendance Arrangements: Free Event. Open to all members of the Sociology Department to attend in person or online. University members may also attend online via MS Teams. The talk will be followed by end of term drinks from 17:30 to 19:00 for those attending in person in the department. Contact the Graduate Studies Administrator if you haven't received a Teams meeting link. 

​​Seminar Description: 

'An evolving elite: New York Times obituaries, 1851-2022

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