Historical networks session at Sunbelt

November 23, 2016

Sunbelt is the anual social network analysis conference, and for a few years now it’s been host to history and archaeology sessions. Do consider contributing to this year’s session, I was told by the organisers that archaeology talks are very welcome.

What? History session at Sunbelt

Where? Beijing

When? 30 May – 4 June 2017

Deadline 10 January

Session on “Historical Network Research” at Sunbelt 2017 in Beijing, 30 May – 4 June 2017

The XXXVII Sunbelt conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis, held in Beijing from 30 May to 4 June 2017 (http://insna.org/sunbelt2017/), will host a panel dedicated to Historical Network Research. All scholars interested in presenting a paper or poster within this session are cordially invited to submit an abstract by 10 January 2017 8 p.m. EST = 11 January 2017 1 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time through the conference website. Guidelines for the abstract, travel & accommodation information, FAQ, and the submission form are available at http://insna.org/sunbelt2017/ and the abstract submission is now open. The conference does not require submitting the text of the paper at any stage, only the abstract is needed. The abstract should be 200-500 words long (the limit of the relevant field in the form is about 1,400 characters), and should not contain bibliographic references. When submitting your abstract, please select “Historical Network Research” as the session title in the relevant drop-down menu.


Historical Network Research: Session Abstract

The methods of Social Network Analysis (SNA) have recently started to find their place in the historians’ toolkit, thus giving birth to the burgeoning discipline of Historical Network Research (HNR). After a successful series of smaller workshops devoted to HNR, an international conference explicitly focused on HNR was held in Hamburg (2013), followed by conferences in Ghent (2014), Lisbon (2015), and Turku (upcoming 2017). In addition, sessions devoted to the application of SNA to historical research have been organized at Sunbelt since 2013, and at EUSN since 2014. In 2016, the institutionalisation of HNR was marked by the creation of a new academic journal, the Journal of Historical Network Research (http://historicalnetworkresearch.org/journal/), whose first issue will be published in the summer of 2017.

The aim of this session is to contribute to this emerging field by bringing together historians and other scholars applying SNA to their respective research areas, and by enhancing international and interdisciplinary exchange. We invite papers that explore the application of the formal methods of SNA to historical research and/or delve into the added value of this approach. Topics may include, but are not limited to, network analyses of historical data (from any period) on social, political, and religious groups, movements, cliques, and organizations; communication; economic and intellectual exchange; kinship; social and political upheavals, conflicts, wars, and peace-making; the diffusion of representations, practices, and artefacts through social networks; the reconstruction of past social networks through material culture; etc.


Session organizer:

David Zbíral, Masaryk University, david.zbiral@mail.muni.cz


Session chairs:

Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel, University of Barcelona, delfinieto@ub.edu

David Zbíral, Masaryk University, david.zbiral@mail.muni.cz

Workshop in Ottawa tomorrow

November 8, 2016

networks-simulation-workshop-imageIza Romanowska and I have spent the last few weeks at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, doing some awesome Roman networky boardgame “research” with Shawn Graham. You’ll hear more about this cool work soon. Tomorrow we will give a workshop on simulation and networks for the humanities. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, swing by! If not, get in touch if you are interested and I will share the workshop tutorials with you.

Carleton University, Ottawa, Macodrum Library Discovery Centre RM 481, 11 – 2

networks-simulation-workshop-imageUnderstanding the complexity of past and present societies is a challenge across the humanities. Simulation and network science provide computational tools for confronting these problems. This workshop will provide a hands-on introduction to two popular techniques, agent based modeling and social network analysis. The workshop has been designed with humanities students in mind, so no prior computer experience required.

The workshop is led by Tom Brughmans and Iza Romanowska of University of Konstanz and the University of Southampton, two of the leading digital archaeologists. Brughmans is co-editor of the recent volume, ‘The Connected Past: Challenges to Network Studies in Archaeology and History‘ published by Oxford University Press. Romanowska edits the scholarly blog ‘Simulating Complexity‘ and is a Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute where she promotes the use of computational methods in the humanities.

Our field matures! Announcing the Historical Network Research Journal

November 2, 2016

It is not often that we can celebrate a major development in our young field of network studies of the past. But today we can! A brand new journal has been launched: Historical Network Research. It’s being supported by key players in the community so I am confident it will make a splash and help our field develop ever further towards awesomely constructive contributions to our understanding of the past.

Introducing the Journal of Historical Network Research

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Journal of Historical Network Research, a new publication dedicated to historical research by means of theories and methodologies developed in social network analysis and network science.

Why we need a Journal of Historical Network Research

While interdisciplinary research into the relational paradigm has produced an impressive body of work across the social and political sciences and also, increasingly, among historians, there is as yet no international medium of publication devoted to the study of networks in their historical contexts. This has put scholars with an interest in historical network research—both historians and historical sociologists—at a great disadvantage, and has meant that they have long been accustomed to publishing research papers in non-historical journals. The situation for historians interested in network research is further complicated by academic and cultural idiosyncrasies, since much of the groundbreaking and recent research into historical networks in the English-speaking world has been carried out by historical sociologists, rather than social historians, and has thus remained mostly outside the sphere of traditional academic history departments. This has naturally also influenced the means of publication for research in this area; preferred journals such as Social Networks and the American Journal of Sociology focus heavily on methodological and theoretical aspects. In short, there are no international publications devoted to the study of networks (social and otherwise) from a specifically historical perspective.

This is the gap that the Journal of Historical Network Research is keen to fill. Its aim is to publish outstanding and original contributions which apply the theories and methodologies of social network analysis to historical research, to help advance the epistemological and theoretical understanding of social network analysis in the historical, social and political sciences, and to promote empirical research on historical social interactions. The journal aims to promote the interplay between different areas of historical research (in the broadest sense), social and political sciences, and different research traditions and disciplines, while strengthening the dialogue between network research and “traditional” historical research. The journal will serve as a meeting place for the traditional hermeneutics of historical research and its concomitant emphasis on contextualisation and historical source criticism (as present in traditional academic historical journals) on the one hand, and the theory-heavy and/or sometimes overly technical discussion of methodological and technological issues (which predominates in publications focused on “pure” or sociological network research) on the other.

Editorial and Advisory Boards

The Editorial and Advisory Boards of the Journal of Historical Network Research are composed of scholars who have previously published in the field of historical network research, covering all of the main historical periods, from antiquity and the mediaeval period to (early) modern and contemporary history. The Advisory Board consists of noted scholars and internationally renowned experts from both the historical sciences and neighbouring disciplines (e.g. archaeology, social, political and economic sciences, digital humanities and computer science), whose task will be to ensure the academic quality of publications.

The journal is committed to excellence in research and scholarship and will adhere to the highest measures of quality control. Papers will be peer reviewed by experts in relevant fields. The journal will be an open access online publication hosted by the University of Luxembourg. As a digital medium the journal will emphasise the wide range of possibilities for publishing online. For network research in particular, this mode of publication holds a number of advantages. Unlike traditional print publications, no size or viewability limit is placed on network graphs. Data collections and databases may be published alongside research papers, and visual representations of networks are not limited to static figures but may also include dynamic/animated graphs and/or timelines, as well as three-dimensional network views. This encourages the development and application of digital resources alongside more traditional journals, with the aim of supporting relational science and historical network research.


We are seeking proposals for papers to be published in the Journal of Historical Network Research, the first issue of which will appear in the summer of 2017.

The Editorial Board welcomes proposals for papers centred on historical network research into any period of the recorded human past, from Bronze Age civilisation to contemporary history.

While English is the language of choice, articles can also be submitted in German, French and Italian (please include your contact details). All articles (but especially those articles written in a language other than English) should be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 300 words in American English which gives the salient points and arguments, and should also be indexed by no more than 5 keywords.

Please follow the Author Guidelines and use this Word template  to ensure that your paper is formatted correctly.

Articles for the first volume should be submitted to journal@historicalnetworkresearch.org by January 15th 2017. You will be notified of acceptance as soon as possible.

For further information on historical network research in general, we would advise you to visit www.historicalnetworkresearch.org. If you have any additional queries, please do not hesitate to contact the editors at journal@historicalnetworkresearch.org.

Editorial Board

Christian Rollinger
University of Trier
Editor Ancient History

Robert Gramsch-Stehfest
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Editor Medieval History

Martin Stark
ILS Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Aachen
Editor Modern History

Marten Düring
University of Luxembourg
Editor Contemporary History


Advisory Board

Wim Broekaert, University of Ghent

Frederik Elwert, Ruhr University Bochum

Luca de Benedictis, Università di Macerata

Paul McLean, Rutgers University

Tobias Winnerling, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Emily Erikson, Yale University

Henning Hillmann, University of Mannheim

Nick Crossley, University of Manchester

Lothar Krempel, Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Societies (ret.)

Malte Rehbein, University of Passau

Antske Fokkens, University of Amsterdam (VU)

Kimmo Elo, Åbo Akademi

Diane Cline, The George Washington University

Anna Collar, Aarhus University

Tom Brughmans, University of Konstanz

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)

Charles van den Heuvel, University of Amsterdam

Claire Lemercier, Sciences Po

Christophe Verbruggen, University of Ghent

Linda von Keyserlingk, Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden

Matthias Bixler, University of Bremen

Susie J. Pak, St. John’s University

Linked Pasts II: Madrid, 15-16 December 2016

October 28, 2016

pelagioslogoThis event will be of interest to those reading this blog.

Pelagios Commons is pleased to announce the second international “Linked Pasts”, a symposium dedicated to facilitating practical and pragmatic developments in linking digital resources in History, Classics, Geography and Archaeology. Bringing together leading exponents of Linked Data from both academia and the Cultural Heritage sector, it will address the obstacles to and issues raised by developing a digital ecosystem of online open materials.

A preliminary programme is available via our eventbrite page (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-international-linked-pasts-symposium-tickets-28456066862), where tickets for the event can also be reserved. (The event is free, but places are limited.) Refreshments (tea/coffee, lunch) will be provided, along with a reception on Thursday 15th December. A number of travel bursaries are also available: for more information please contact commons@pelagios.org.

digiTAG2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’

October 4, 2016

Source:  Dr. Sara Perry’s blog. By Sara Perry and James Taylor.


There is a perception of a divide between archaeological communities dedicated to different topics, and there definitely is quite a bit of miscommunication of research between theoretical and digital archaeology communities. This often leads to archaeologists taking an extreme and unconstructive stance towards the work done in other communities. In my opinion this is a total waste of energy that should be spent on more in-depth critical engagement with digital and theoretical archaeology. But there are very few initiatives that provide a platform for members of different communities to discuss their work in a constructive and friendly way; there is a need for such platforms that help us achieve better, richer ways of doing archaeology.


This is exactly the kind of necessary opportunity provided by digiTAG! One of the most popular sessions at CAA last year was not about networks (surprise surprise) but ‘digiTAG’: a cool new initiative stimulating cross-feritilization between communities predominantly concerned with digital (CAA) and theoretical (TAG) topics. A second session is now announced, to be held at TAG in Southampton on 19-21 December 2016. I strongly recommend attending or presenting at this session.

The following post on Dr. Sara Perry’s blog provides more information about the event. The session focuses on storytelling and the digital turn, which I find great topics for building bridges! Although I think the digital has been turning for a very long time in archaeology and has been ubiquitous in archaeological research for about the last two decades in some form or other. That said, I think there is a massive need for more original creative uses of digital methods that don’t just allow us to do what we did before faster and applied to more data, but that allow us to do entirely new things that push our knowledge of the past further. There is a lack of this in digital archaeology, and I don’t mind turning more in that direction.

I’m so pleased to announce that Dr James Taylor and myself will be hosting a follow-up to our successful first digiTAG (digital Theoretical Archaeology Group) event held in Oslo in the springtime. Sponsored by both TAG and the CAA (Computing Applications in Archaeology), digiTAG II will feature at the TAG UK conference in Southampton, 19-21 December, 2016.

Our aim through the digiTAG series is to deepen our critical engagements w digital media and digital methods in archaeology and heritage. digiTAG II seeks to focus our thinking specifically on digital tools as they are enrolled in creating stories about the past. To this end, we are looking for contributors to talk about, experiment with, involve or otherwise immerse us in their archaeological/heritage storytelling work.

Such storytelling work may entail innovating with:

  • lab or excavation reports
  • recording sheets
  • maps, plans, section views, sketches, illustrations, and other forms of on-site visual recording
  • collections and databases
  • data stories or data ethnographies
  • digital data capture (survey, photogrammetry, laser scanning, remote sensing, etc.)
  • artefact or museums catalogues
  • digital media forms (VR, AR, videogames, webpages, apps, etc.)
  • books or manuscripts
  • articles, zines, comics, news reports, art pieces
  • audioguides, podcasts, music or sound installations
  • maps, trails, panels, labels, guidebooks, brochures, and other forms of interpretation & interpretative infrastructure
  • touch maps, handling materials/collections, tactile writing systems, 3d prints, models & more!

We welcome both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your digiTAG II presentation. Please submit your abstracts (up to 250 words) tojames.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November.

We hope to hear from you & don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. The full CFP is copied below:

TAG and the CAA present…

digiTAG 2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’

Session organisers:

Dr. James Taylor (University of York) – primary correspondant.


Dr. Sara Perry (University of York)



In April of 2016 the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) teamed up with the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conference to run a successful Digital TAG (digiTAG) session in Oslo, Norway. This session sought to question, challenge, appraise and reconceive the epistemological and research-oriented implications of the digital turn in archaeology, including its larger social, political and economic consequences.

That event, building on a long history of engagement with digital processes and digital media at both the TAG and CAA conferences, brought together 15 practitioners from around the world working in all domains of archaeology–from the lab to the field, from the museum to the classroom. Here they situated their (and others’) use of digital technologies within wider theoretical contexts, and with critical self-awareness, thereby opening up a space for rigorous evaluations of impact and reflections on overall disciplinary change. digiTAG 2 now aims to build upon the success of the first digiTAG, extending critical conversation about the discipline’s digital engagements at a finer-grained level in concert with a diverse audience of theoretical archaeologists.

However, digiTAG 2 seeks to narrow our discussion, in specific, on the concept of digital storytelling and the ramifications of the digital turn on larger interpretations of the past. Given the frequency and intensity with which digital media are now enrolled to structure, articulate, visualise and circulate information for the production of archaeological narratives, we invite participants to present papers that critically consider the impact of the digital turn upon archaeological interpretation and archaeology’s many stories.

Whether you direct your digital engagements at professional, academic or non-specialist audiences – whether you deploy digital tools for data collection, data analysis, synthesis, and dissemination or beyond – we ask, how are your stories affected? Does the digital enable new and different narratives? Does it extend or narrow audience engagement? When does it harm or hinder, complicate or obfuscate? And when – and for whom – does it create richer, more meaningful storytelling about the past?

To explore these questions, we encourage both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your talk. Ultimately, digiTAG 2 aims to delve into the critical implications of archaeologists’ use of digital technologies on processes of knowledge creation.

Submit titles & abstracts (up to 250 words) to james.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November 2016.

Love sampling, stats and networks? (really?) Present at our CAA 2017 session in Atlanta!

September 26, 2016

caaThe CAA call for papers and posters is now open until 28 October! The full list of sessions is published here. Among them you will notice a most awesomely appealing title: “Archaeological Networks: Uncertainty, Missing Data, and Statistical Inference”. Fancy nerding out on networks, stats and sampling? Then present a paper in the session Matt Peeples and myself will chair.

Archaeological Networks: Uncertainty, Missing Data, and Statistical Inference

Empirical studies of networks based on archaeological data are on a rapid rise. So far, the adoption of network methods from other fields has outpaced the development of new techniques and heuristics for dealing with the sometimes peculiar qualities of archaeological network data. Key among the issues faced by archaeologists interested in using networks are the impact of uncertainty and missing data on the properties of the networks we generate. We often must build networks based on an incomplete universe of nodes (because our units of analysis lack current archaeological information or have been destroyed) as well as incomplete information about the nodes we do have (due to sampling issues, different recording conventions, etc.). Further, we often have no consistent way to estimate how much information we are missing. The prevalence of such known unknowns and unknown unknowns suggest that we must carefully temper inferences drawn from networks defined using archaeological data. Importantly, all hope is not lost and these challenges are not unique to archaeology or network data alone. In this session, we ask contributors to explore the potential impact of missing data on empirical archaeological networks and/or test tools and approaches for identifying robust patterns in archaeological networks despite such challenges. Approaches may include, for example, the use of probabilistic estimates and sensitivity analysis already popular in many other areas of archaeological statistical analysis such as seriation or methods specific to network data drawing on the large body of research focused on estimating the shape and properties of so called “dark” networks (common in studies of covert organizations, epidemiology, and infectious disease). In addition, this session welcomes archaeological applications of network methods in general.

13 PhD positions in Digital History, Luxembourg

September 8, 2016

These positions might be of interest for those wishing to do (archaeological) historical network research. Deadline 1 October 2016!

Details here.

The Historical Institute / Center for Contemporary and Digital History University of Luxembourg has obtained a large grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg in the framework of the so-called PRIDE-program, enabling the creation of a Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) and opens up to
13 positions for PhD students (Doctoral candidates) in the field of digital history and hermeneutics (m/f)

  •  Ref: R-STR-3067-00-B
  • Starting date: 15th January 2017
  • Duration: 14-months initial contract, extendable up to 3 years, further extendable by 1 year if required, 40 hours/week
  • Doctoral student status at Luxembourg University
  • Deadline for applications: 1st October 2016
Your Role
  • This DTU aims at creating an experimental trading zone for the reflection on the epistemological and methodological challenges of doing digital history / humanities research in an interdisciplinary setting. All PhD students will have to conduct their research within the conceptual framework of the DTU. Participation in the collectively organized skills trainings on digital literacy as well as active participation in the planning and organization of thematic workshops of the DTU will be required. For a detailed description of the DTU and the thematic axes see: http://www.dhlab.lu/digital-literacy/digital-history-hermeneutics-dtu/
  • Presentation of research findings at workshops and conferences
  • Publication of papers / scientific articles in peer-reviewed international journals
  • Possibility of participating in teaching activities (seminars)
Your Profile
  • Master’s Degree (or equivalent) in a Humanities discipline (History, Philosophy, Sociology, Linguistics, Archaeology) or related disciplines such as Geography; or in Computer Sciences, Data and Information Science, Human-Computer-Interaction and Psychology. It is possible to apply if the respective degree is to be obtained soon (details to be given in the application
  • Good command of written and spoken English
  • Dedication to actively participate in the interdisciplinary framework of the DTU
  • Willingness to integrate in the “experimental space” of the DTU
We offer
  •  The University of Luxembourg offers a dynamic environment with a large number of ongoing scientific activities (English as working language; additionally, French and German are accepted as literary languages for the writing of the PhD thesis) and a cutting edge digital research infrastructur
  • Financial support (travel allowances) for participating in scientific activities (workshops, conferences, summer schools, etc.
  • Attractive salary and employment contract including social insurance contribution
  • Enrolment in the doctoral school of the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) or of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) with an interesting offer of various disciplinary or interdisciplinary courses and transferable skills trainings
Further Information

PhD Advisors and Research Areas
• Ass.-Prof. Andrea Binsfeld: ancient history, slave history, roman archaeology
• Prof. Pascal Bouvry; computer science, heuristics of search, search optimization, parallel computing
• Ass.-Prof. Geoffrey Caruso: geovisualisation, spatial data mining, GIS, urban analysis
• Prof. Andreas Fickers: digital history, historical epistemology, history of media and technology
• Prof. Peter Gilles: linguistics, corpus linguistics, digital humanities, Luxembourg studies
• Prof. Frank Hofmann: philosophy, epistemology, theories of cognition, knowledge and rationality
• Dr. Vincent Koenig: human-computer interaction, cognitive ergonomics
• Ass.-Prof. Benoît Majerus: European history, war studies, medical history, memory studies
• Prof. Michel Margue: historiography, memory studies, medieval history, historical hermeneutics
• Ass.-Prof. Christoph Schommer: data mining, data science, information retrieval, text mining
• Ass.-Prof. Denis Scuto: contemporary history of Luxembourg, migration history, historical didactics
• Prof. Leon van der Torre: arcificial intelligence, knowledge representation, deontic/legal reasoning, argumentation, NLP
• Dr. Martin Uhrmacher: urban history, regional history, historical cartography, medical history

Further Information

Application Documents

Letter of motivation containing compulsorily

  • an explanation of the motives for participating in the DTU and of expected learning outcomes and career perspectives
  • a sketch of a research project (2 pages max) that fits into at least one of the thematic axes developed in the DTU proposal
  • an argued preference for a main supervisor out of the list of PhD advisors listed above

Full CV

Transcript of academic records and copies of diplomas

Names of at least two references who are willing to write a letter of recommendation on the candidate’s behalf (they may be contacted by us)


  • 11 of the 13 positions are funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg in the PRIDE scheme. 2 PhD positions are funded by the University.
  • General questions concerning the structure, intellectual agenda and organization of the DTU should be addressed to the DTU coordinator Prof. Andreas Fickers: andreas.fickers@uni.lu
  • Administrative questions shall be addressed to andreas.fickers@uni.lu
  • Scientific questions should be addressed directly to the corresponding potential PhD advisor

All applications must be submitted online. Deadline: 1st of October 2016.

The University of Luxembourg is an equal opportunity employer and applications by women are especially encouraged