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Workshop: Python for Humanists

An introductory programming workshop for researchers in the humanities

The RHLMC invites all researchers in the humanities to a special workshop event: Python for Humanists. In recent years, Python has emerged as an essential tool in digitally oriented humanities research. Known for its beginner-friendliness and robust community base, Python is the perfect programming language for humanistic scholars who are interested in adopting computational methods in their own research.


Registration is now full. Thank you for signing up.
There is a $20 fee, which is accepted at the door in cash or personal check (made payable to the University of Pittsburgh).

Date & Time

  • September 22 (Fri) 1 - 5pm
  • September 23 (Sat) 10am - 3pm
This workshop consists of two half-days. There will be a coffee break on Friday, and a catered lunch on Saturday.


The workshop will take place in our newly renovated PC lab at the Robert Henderson Language Media Center (G17 Cathedral of Learning).

About the Instructor

Dr. Patrick Juola (Duquesne University) is a leading expert in the field of forensic linguistics and authorship attribution. Notably, his work was instrumental in uncovering the true author behind the 2013 crime fiction novel The Cuckoo's Calling as none other than J.K. Rowling. Aside from stylometry, his research interests include digital humanities and computer security.

Software & Hardware Requirements

Participants are encouraged to bring their personal laptop, which should be running Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux. Additionally, our lab PCs will be configured with required software and available to use. If you bring your own computer, you should install Anaconda Python with Python version 3.6 from this site before you arrive. Prior to the workshop, participants will be emailed with installation instructions (which are now found below.)


  1. Install Anaconda Python and download NLTK data. Instructions: Python-Workshop-installation.pdf
  2. Download Victorian novels data set: (58MB)
  3. [Optional] Download DRM-free Python books: (213MB)
Day 1
  • Session 1 (Notebook file, 1-2:45pm)
    1. Welcome
    2. Corpus and problem discussion
    3. Mechanics of Python programming
    4. Loops and functions
    5. Expressions and decisions (problem: Butcher's algorithm for Easter)

  • Coffee break (2:45-3:15pm)

  • Session 2 (Notebook file, 3:15-5pm)
    1. Text analysis
    2. Problem analysis; Do men or women write longer novels?
    3. Variants as per class discussion
    4. Discussion/closing/break
Day 2
  • Session 1 (Notebook file, 10am-noon)
    1. Regular expressions
    2. Making pretty pictures: plots and graphs
    3. Python philosophy

  • Lunch break (noon-1pm)

  • Session 2: "Bring your own data" (Notebook file 1-3pm )
    1. Discussion of new problems (by participants)
    2. Problem analysis
    3. Future work/closing of seminar
What next? Some pointers

Our Sponsors

We thank our sponsors for their generous support: DHRX (Digital Humanities Research at Pitt) and the Humanities Center.


Questions? Comments? Please email Na-Rae Han (

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