Interpretations (or not)

This week's readings drove home the point that digital humanities is helpful in its numbers and graphs and pure, cold data. And while I agree with Franco Morretti's assertion that "data is ideally independent of interpretations," I think it is human nature to start trying to fill in the blanks data leaves us ("Graphs" from Graphs, Maps, Trees 9). Why else would it be interesting to see the graphs Moretti includes in his book? Why else is it compelling? Moretti certainly recognizes this as well, but I keep thinking about what these graphs might suggest than just economic downturns or war (though these are incredibly important factors not to be discounted). What about the spread of ideas or inventions? It would be an easy assumption to believe that colonial influence brought about these sharp rises in novel publications--that the printing press is being exchanged at points of contact around the world. Yet the fact that Japan follows so sharply on the heels of Britain's novel production, while Italy and Spain (closer in region) are much, much slower to increase production. In a colonial viewpoint, then, it is perhaps a point against British imperialism or colonialist interference. In that same point, it is interesting that Nigeria's novel production rate rises sharply as Nigeria becomes its own country and no longer a British colony. In this example, like Japan's, there is the interesting corralation of data that collaborates how these countries might have operated around British influence or despite of it. 

Still, data isn't necessarily meant to be interpreted. The hypothesis that come from data, however, are endless and generate testing grounds for how digital humanities can help the field of literature studies.