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