We are investigating a social issue that ties together two UTA strategic themes: Health and the Human Condition and Data-Driven Discovery, namely, how the concept of being healthy emerges and changes over time, and can be differently construed in multiple settings, whether those be institutional or private, formal or conversational. Such an investigation is vital, since health is not simply a physical property measurable by scientific indices, such as body mass or cholesterol count, but is also a linguistic and anthropological product, forged in conversations about what is healthy and what is not. By building on the overlapping expertise of our research team in tracking cultural meaning interpretations and behaviors in different eras and contexts, our project will use data analysis to uncover word patterns that reveal trends in public health behavior, and from these, track whether the popular dissemination of information diverges from, reinforces, or counters more official medical information, hence enabling better tailoring of public health recommendations to those who must manage their own daily health behavior.


Our deliverables for this first stage are papers describing the diachronic trends in the corpus material. We anticipate presenting papers derived from this project at the following venues:

Texas Digital Humanitites Conference, University of Austin, May 27, 2016.
DHX: Digital Humanities Extravaganza, UT Arlington English Department, May 4, 2016.
The 51st Kalamazoo International Medieval Congress held at Western Michigan University’s Medieval Institute, in Kalamazoo, Michigan in May 12-15, 2016

Principal Investigator: Laurel Stvan, Associate Professor and Chair, Linguistics and TESOL

Co-Investigator: Jacqueline Fay, Associate Professor, English

Co-Investigator: Sridhar Nerur, Professor, Information Systems and Operations Management