A few years ago I worked on an independent project that included some analysis of Enver Hoxha’s rhetoric during his rule, from WWII until the end of his life in 1985. More specifically, I looked at how Hoxha redefined terms central to his rhetoric over and over again to serve his political needs, especially during moments of political upheavals. I read through his body of work looking for the words ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ in over a half century old collection of his writings.
For this textual analysis assignment I wanted to see how these tools could help with my Hoxha research, as it is also central to what I am hoping will become my capstone project. Luckily there are a few online archives that contain Hoxha’s work. I collected the text from Marxists.org, a volunteer supported project that contains his complete works and a few selected English translations. The translated work does not include much of the time period or topics that would be useful to my project.
I began the analysis process by attempting to analyze the Albanian text. The results were what I expected: Voyant Tools produced only an error message, and Mimno could not read Albanian. I also used Google Ngram to see if there was a trend that pointed out a crucial date in my research (1972) and the results were really surprising, as Albania was completely closed off at the time and I did not realize the events of 1972 were felt outside the country.
I decided to focus on Voyant Tools because it was much more accessible, and continue to work with Hoxha’s English text. I played around with tools available on Voyant, looking for any relationship or word that could indicate a pattern I had not noticed by painstakingly reading through the text. Ultimately I found nothing useful for my research and I do not anticipate that to change with the rest of the English text. Although my project ideally lends itself to textual analysis, as it is looking at terms over a period of time, I don’t expect the relationships or patterns that could emerge from a textual analysis to dramatically affect my research. But I remain open to the idea that I might find more supporting evidence this way. I would love to have the opportunity to use the original Albanian and find out, because the visualizations on Voyant are great and this was fun.