Judith Kaplan

Postdoctoral Fellow (Sep 2013-Jul 2016)


I am interested in the human and historical sciences, linguistics in particular. My doctoral dissertation, Language Science and Orientalism in Imperial Germany, provided an integrated analysis of these two sub-fields to account for a shift from textual evidence to spoken language in the decades around 1900. This research forms the basis of my manuscript in progress, Voices of the People: Transforming the Language Sciences in Imperial Germany. My postdoctoral research follows this comparative-historical tradition into the twentieth century, attending to controversial long-range proposals of language relationship and prehistorical reconstructions of linguistic ancestry. Looking at phenomena from lexicostatistics to the hypothesis of "Proto-World,“ I hope to tackle a number of closely related questions: what is the conceptual relationship between linguistic breadth and historical depth? How have social and political factors helped or hindered broad linguistic sampling? How have historical linguists defined the frontier of scientific knowledge? And how has the epistemological status of work on that frontier related to data practices over time? 




No current projects were found for this scholar.

Big Data and the Reconstruction of Linguistic Prehistory


Selected Publications

Past Events


Seeing the Forest and the Trees: On the Simultaneous Visualization of Horizontal and Vertical Transmission in Historical Linguistics


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Basic Wordlists and the Universal Linguistic Subject

History of Science Society Annual Meeting

The Greenberg Controversy: Studying Language and Prehistory in the Americas

MPIWG seminar series, "Studying Human Variation in the Twentieth Century"

F. C. Andreas' Archaeological and Epigraphic Expedition to Persia, 1875-1881

German Studies Association Seminar, "Global History, Literature, and Culture from a German Base"

"Voices of the People": The Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission and Germany's Prisoners of War, 1915-1918

History of Science Society Annual Meeting

On the History and Historiography of Language Sciences in Imperial Germany

Wayne State University Linguistics Program Colloquium Series

Nachrichten & Presse

Forschungsgruppe „Epistemes of Modern Acoustics“ veröffentlicht special issue in Technology and Culture