Dr Kaspar Beelen

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Senior Research Associate


Kaspar Beelen is a digital historian, who explores the application of machine learning to humanities research. After obtaining his PhD in History (2014) at the University of Antwerp he worked as postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. As researcher on the Digging into Linked Parliamentary Data (Dilipad) project, he published several papers situated at the interface of data science, political science and history, which explored a wide range of topics, including: the representation of women in Westminster, the evolution of public health discourse, and the use of affect in parliamentary language.

In 2016, Kaspar moved to the University of Amsterdam where he first worked as a postdoc for the "Information and Language Processing Systems" group, and later became assistant professor in Digital Humanities (Media Studies). Since February 2019, he works at the Turing Institute as research associate for the Living with Machines project.

Research interests

Kaspar specialises in creating and mining longitudinal historical corpora. He has worked extensively on digitising and enhancing the parliamentary proceedings, the "verbatim" records of speeches made in plenary sessions. In previous projects he worked on releasing the Belgian, Canadian and British proceedings, and investigated how semantically enhanced search can enhance access to such vast historical collections.

Methodologically, Kaspar's research applies machine learning to historical data. Topics of interest include: computational models of semantic change (over time, but also between communities); measuring emotion in discourse; detecting ideology in language. His historical research has focused on the substantive representation of women in Westminster; the changing discourse on public health during the interwar period innovation in the book market during the Dutch Golden Age.