Networks and the study of the human past, at EUSN (CFP)

History and archaeology at the EUSN conference!!! Our community is rapidly becoming a core part of SNA. We look forward to receiving your abstract and helping us represent history and archaeology in SNA.

CFP deadline: April 12.

Where? Zurich

When? 9-12 September 2019

Call for Papers: Networks and the study of the human past

Organized session at the 4th European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN 2019)

9-12 September 2019, Zurich, Switzerland (

Most network research focuses on contemporary data and is presentist in orientation, overlooking the vast store of interesting data from the past. Over the last decades, a substantial number of empirical studies have shown that both network theories and formal network methods can be productively applied to (selected) bodies of historical and archaeological data. The aim of this interdisciplinary session is to further extend the community of scholars in this field in Europe and beyond by promoting contacts between the various disciplines that aim at making sense of past phenomena through methods and theories derived from network analysis and network science.

We are looking for papers exploring the challenges and potential posed by such network studies of past phenomena. Not exhaustive examples of such challenges and avenues include: incomplete and missing data, usually without the possibility to collect more data; big data analytics and textual/semantic network analysis based on (fragmented) sources; material sources as proxy evidence for social phenomena; ability to explore long-term changes in past systems vs. the analysis of mid-term or short-term processes and the historicity of ties; etc.

The session invites contributions from researchers from various disciplines applying methods of formal network analysis and network science on the human past. We welcome submissions concerning any period, geographical area or topic. The authors may be archaeologists, historians, social scientists as well as scholars from other disciplines working with historical or archaeological data. Topics might include but are not limited to: past revolutions; migration; industrial revolution; diffusion processes; transitions from authoritarianism to democracy and back; trade; kinship; war; religion and science.

To be eligible, the proposals should:

  • Address and clearly formulate research questions concerning past phenomena.
  • Critically address issues related to the sources/materials/construction of data used.
  • Explain why it is substantively interesting to consider their topic in formal network terms.
  • Elaborate what the added value of such a relational view is, and what methodological and theoretical choices it implies.

The paper proposals for the session will be selected by an interdisciplinary committee with expertise in doing network analysis and network science in the fields of archaeology, history, sociology, political science and religious studies.

Abstract submission:

The deadline for submission is April 12. Please submit your abstract of up to 500 words through the link on the conference homepage:

Session organizers:

Tom Brughmans (University of Oxford), Martin Stark (ILS, Aachen), Ivo Veiga (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Bernd Wurpts (University of Lucerne), David Zbíral (Masaryk University)

Funding: Pelagios small grants

Last year, Pau de Soto and I received a Pelagios small grant to develop Itiner-e . This small support allowed for the creation of a software platform and to explore an experimental idea related to linked open data. It was great, and created a whole new research line for me. I strongly encourage members of this list to propose projects for a small grant, it’s a great initiative. Check out more projects on the Pelagios blog

Via Elton Barker:

We are happy to announce for 2019 a new series of small grants to fund continued development within the scope of Pelagios in the form of:
  • Resource Development (RD) grants, which aim to produce digital resources that are compatible with Pelagios linked data methodologies and that can be shared within the community;
  • Working Groups (WG), which focus on extending Pelagios linked data methodologies into new areas, and/or establishing best practice within the community.
Proposals for both RD and WGs will be judged according to their relevance to and usefulness for the wider Pelagios community. Deadline for all submissions is 1 April 2019.
If you are interested in either of these small grants schemes, please read carefully the following call and the related list of criteria below. Details can also be found on the Pelagios blog.
Please feel free to share widely. Any questions, email us:

Book: Quantitative Methods in the Humanities

There are not a lot of good books out there to help us humanists who also use calculators. Many books have an extremely tight focus on a particular tool or software, or they are uselessly vague. Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc wrote a book that balances between a comprehensive overview of approaches and practicalities of implementation whilst remaining critical about the potential application in the humanities. In short: useful and necessary!

The book covers many approaches including network science! I can definitely recommend this part of the book, written by world-leading experts on the topic. Moreover, the book is accompanied by a useful blog with loads of resources. In terms of coverage it is also entirely compatible with another recent book on the topic, the Historian’s Macroscope.

An enhanced translation of an earlier version written in French, this book will appeal to Humanities scholars world-wide. But especially to historians and archaeologists who don’t want to compromise their data critique when applying quantitative methods.

This timely and lucid guide is intended for students and scholars working on all historical periods and topics in the humanities and social sciences–especially for those who do not think of themselves as experts in quantification, “big data,” or “digital humanities.”

The authors reveal quantification to be a powerful and versatile tool, applicable to a myriad of materials from the past. Their book, accessible to complete beginners, offers detailed advice and practical tips on how to build a dataset from historical sources and how to categorize it according to specific research questions. Drawing on examples from works in social, political, economic, and cultural history, the book guides readers through a wide range of methods, including sampling, cross-tabulations, statistical tests, regression, factor analysis, network analysis, sequence analysis, event history analysis, geographical information systems, text analysis, and visualization. The requirements, advantages, and pitfalls of these techniques are presented in layperson’s terms, avoiding mathematical terminology.

Conceived primarily for historians, the book will prove invaluable to other humanists, as well as to social scientists looking for a nontechnical introduction to quantitative methods. Covering the most recent techniques, in addition to others not often enough discussed, the book will also have much to offer to the most seasoned practitioners of quantification.



Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc belong to this rare category of historians who show how quantitative methods can and should be used to build new bridges between history, the social sciences and humanities. At a time when disciplinary entrenchement is as lively as ever, this is refreshing. This book provides a great illustration of their approach. A must-read.
Thomas Piketty, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and Paris School of Economics, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

“There are so many untapped opportunities for historians to use quantitative methods, but very few guides to help them use these methods well. This book meets an urgent need for concise, accessible, and rigorous texts on quantitative history. It is a text that will last—it presents fundamental concepts in such a way that they will not be quickly dated as tools and questions change.”

Caitlin C. Rosenthal, University of California, Berkeley, author of Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management

Lemercier and Zalc have crafted a wonderfully luminous and congenial primer to quantitative methods construed, not as the Grail, but as a pragmatic, supple and enriching approach to interpretation as well as to the administration of proof. It presents possible solutions to a multiplicity of very different questions that stimulate thinking about how to capture and fathom the past and to probe issues in myriad disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences.

Steven Laurence Kaplan, Cornell University
About the Author:

Claire Lemercier is Research Professor of History at the Center for the Sociology of Organizations, Paris.

Claire Zalc is Research Professor of History at the Institute for Early Modern and Modern History and at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris.

Arthur Goldhammer is an affiliate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University.

POLNET + network models and culture

The following events might be of particular interest to historians and archaeologists reading this blog.

via Martin Stark and the HNR list:

Dear Colleagues and Students,

This year´s summer school on advanced social network analysis will be dedicated to network models of culture and discourse. The nexus between words and networks offers new possibilities to understand the impact of culture and language use in social networks and vice versa. Scholars use a variety of different approaches, qualitative content based (e.g. QSA qualitative structural analysis, content analysis), quantitative analysis (e.g. automated content analysis, text mining), or a combination of both (e.g. DNA discourse network analysis). In this advanced seminar, we introduce some of these methods in lectures combined with hands-on-tutorials.

Network models of culture and discourse from sociological and political science perspectives will be the focus of the upcoming summer school Polnet Plus, which will be organized by Boris Holzer (Department of Sociology) and Volker Schneider (Department of Politics and Public Administration) at the University of Konstanz at May 24 and 25, 2019.

Various sessions will introduce the participants into the topic of the collection and analysis of network models of culture and discourse. The summer school includes a keynote speech by Prof. Alexander Mehler from the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, where he is a professor for Computational Humanities / Text Technology and heads the Text Technology Lab as part of the Institute of Informatics.

In addition, we offer a pre-summer school refresher Network Analysis with R, starting from Wednesday, May 22 until Thursday, May 23 (see timetable for newcomers and participants with-out basic knowledge in R and Social Network Analysis.

This year’s POLNET + faculty team includes Felix Bossner1, Achim Edelmann2, Boris Holzer1, Ines Imbert 5, Lukáš Lehotský3, Jürgen Lerner1, Melanie Nagel1, Petr Ocelík3, Adrian Rinscheid4, Keiichi Satoh1 and Volker Schneider1.

[ 1 University of Konstanz; 2 University of Bern; 3 Masaryk University; 4 University of St. Gallen; 5 EIfER European Institute for Energy Research EDF-KIT, Karlsruhe]

Please do not hesitate to contact Christiane Richter ( with any further questions or to register your interest in attending the summer school until April 30.

You can also access additional information on

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Konstanz in May 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Boris Holzer Volker Schneider

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