Marine Riguet

Digital Humanities Expert

Today, digital technology is redefining not only our research practices, but also everything that makes up our culture.

Post-doctoral student at the Observatoire de la vie littéraire1 (OBVIL), Marine Riguet has become an expert in the digital humanities. She explains how this new field of research that brings science and the arts into dialogue has influenced her professional and personal life.

What do you recall about your studies at Sorbonne University?

Marine Riguet: During my PhD, I had the chance to collaborate with engineers and researchers in digital humanities, linguistics and computer science in a very dynamic and stimulating laboratory. Having been educated as a literary scholar, this opened up new fields such as programming. Skills that I was able to put to good use when I spent a semester, after my thesis, at the University of Chicago to develop a tool to contribute to automatic text mining.

How did you become interested in the digital humanities?

M. R. : After a master's degree in literature at the Sorbonne University, I spent three years in publishing before resuming a thesis in 2014 with Professor Didier Alexandre, director of the OBVIL lab, and one of the specialists in artificial intelligence, Professor Jean-Gabriel Ganascia.

I have long been interested in multi-disciplinary methods, so I took advantage of the digitised corpuses within the OBVIL to study the influence of the life sciences and humanities on literary criticism in the second half of the 19th century. Only the use of computer tools could have allowed me to analyse this vast body of texts, which naturally led me to encounter the digital humanities.

What exactly does the term "digital humanities" mean?

M. R. : The aim is to put the new possibilities offered by computers and information technologies at the service of literature, art, the humanities and social sciences. Digital humanities are trans-disciplinary, making it possible to change the reading ranges so as to observe phenomena that would not otherwise have been observed.

Can you give us an example of an application?

M. R. : To better understand the circulation of a concept and its shifts in meaning from one field to another, I used an algorithm that converts all words in a text into vectors and then calculates their proximity or distance. Such a tool makes the semantic environment of a term in a given context observable.

For example, in nineteenth-century literary criticism, I found that the word "milieu" is close to terms such as "selection", "vertebrate" or "physiological", which show a very strong biological connotation. On large-scale studies, this type of tool makes it possible to trace the archaeology of a discourse and the way in which fields influence each other.

What are the potential abuses of the use of these tools?

M. R. : Since the 19th century, literary criticism has always sought scientific support. While statistical tools provide us with elements of measurement, it is however illusory to claim to be able to draw an objective interpretation from them.

The algorithms we use are programmed according to choices made by computer scientists and researchers in the humanities and social sciences. It is therefore vital to maintain a critical distance from the tools used and to analyse results according to their limitations. The challenge is to succeed in articulating literary questions, computer methods and our critical spirit.

Has the digital humanities permeated other aspects of your life?

M. R. : They spontaneously led me to work on new forms of writing. Digital technology makes it possible to leave the static nature of the page to write in other dimensions, whether in the form of a blog feed, a podcast, a filmed diary or, in my case, audio-visual writing. With it, I don't just write with text: I write with sounds, silences, the rhythm of images... I write in movement on living matter. Probably because there are not yet any fixed forms, rules or authorities, the creative freedom it offers seems immeasurable to me.

What direction do you see for your career?

M. R. : Eventually, I hope to continue working as a digital humanities researcher. Although there are few positions entirely devoted to this field, I feel it is important to defend the place of the humanities and social sciences in the current initiatives involving artificial intelligence and new technologies. Today, digital technology is redefining not only our research practices, but also everything that makes up our culture: our relationship to knowledge, memory, space, time, our view of others, the body and literature. 

For more information  

Field notebook of Marine Riguet

1 Sorbonne Université, CNRS

Le théâtre de l’oblitération

Par Élisabeth Angel-Perez

Essai sur la voix photogénique dans le théâtre britannique contemporain


25 000



bachelor degrees


master degrees




Discover our courses catalog


The Faculty of Medicine teaches the 3 cycles of medical studies: from PASS (integrated into the faculty) to the 3rd cycle including DES, DESC, DU and DIU. The lessons are given mainly on two sites: Pitié-Salpêtrière and Saint-Antoine. The faculty also provides paramedical education: speech therapy, psychomotricity and orthoptics. The Saint-Antoine site includes a midwifery school.

Study | at the faculty of medicine

One of our riches is the diversity of students and their backgrounds. Sorbonne University is committed to the success of each of its students and offers them a wide range of training as well as support adapted to their profile and their project.

Associative life

One of our riches is the diversity of students and their backgrounds. Sorbonne University is committed to the success of each of its students.

21 393


17 527



Doctors in medecine and research


Research centers

Welcome to Sorbonne University's Faculty of Science & Engineering

A unique combination of courses and expertise

Our international study programmes are organised according to the major disciplinary areas of the faculty. They represent the graduate study programmes that are not strictly conducted in French or that could be suitable (in part) for non French-speaking students. They also reflect part of the diversity of the disciplines involved and the bi- and inter-disciplinary aspects of many of the courses we offer.


Research & Innovation

We rely on disciplinary skills and on interdisciplinary approaches to renew concepts, methods and research subjects and to focus on some of the crucial issues faced by our societies: transformations affecting the very construction of knowledge (data, AI), the treatment of complex objects (the environment, marine and ocean sciences, cultural heritage) or our contributions to addressing societal challenges (climate change, healthcare).

Study at | The Faculty of Science & Engineering

Our campuses offer different and unique experiences to our students, visitors and staff. Resources and support services are also available to ensure an equal chance at success to all.

Campus Life

In addition to the cultural activities and events organised throughout the year by our clubs and societies, the Parismus society organises numerous events, evenings and cultural visits that will help you discover France and its parisian life.







Sorbonne University's Faculty of Science & Engineering, Oriented towards excellence