CFP Limes congress deadline 15 September

We will host a session dedicated to simulation and the Roman frontiers at the Limes congress, on 21-27 August 2022 in Nijmegen (the Netherlands). Do you work on computational approaches in Roman Studies, simulation, GIS, large digital data? Consider presenting your work in our session #31: Simulating the Limes. Challenges to computational modelling in Roman Studies.

Deadline 15 September

Here is the session abstract:

The increasing availability of large digital data sets requires archaeologists and historians to develop or adopt new analytical tools in order to detect and understand socio-economic and cultural patterns and to compare these at wider spatial and temporal scales. Simulation and other types of computational modelling are rapidly becoming a key instruments for this type of research. They are used to bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and archaeological evidence. These models can be of an exploratory nature, or attempt to closely emulate historical dynamics, and enable us to understand the mechanisms underlying, for example, e.g. population changes or economic systems.

Despite having access to large amounts of high-quality data, Roman studies have so far been relatively slow in adopting computational modelling, and Limes studies are no exception. The Limes is a particular case since each border region has its own characteristics, environmental setting, cultural background and specific relationship with the ‘core’ but also shares common features derived from being at the ‘outskirts’ of political, economic and cultural life. The interaction between these two dimensions is highly complex. Thus, the Limes constitutes an arena where formal modelling methods have particularly high potential. However, key challenges to this approach are i) the proper integration of archaeological and historical data sets; ii) a good understanding of what proxies to use, and iii) the computational power needed for modelling at larger scales.

We invite papers that showcase examples of modelling within the broader thematic setting of the Limes, taking these challenges into account. Suggested topics of interest are the economy of the Limes, urbanisation and settlement dynamics, demography, military campaigns, and relationships between the Limes, the rest of the Roman Empire and the zones beyond the frontier. Statistical modelling, GIS, simulation (e.g., Agent-based modelling), network models and other types of formal approaches are all welcome. Comparative studies are especially welcomed.

More details on the CFP:

The LIMES Congress XXV Scientific Committee is pleased to invite you to submit paper proposals that will present new discoveries and ideas in the field of Roman Frontier Studies. Paper proposals should include the following information:

  • Title of Presentation
  • Speaker information (organization/company, e-mail address)
  • Co-authors information (organization/company, e-mail address)
  • Themed session selection (Please choose general session if paper does not fit in offered session selections) 
  • Abstract of the paper (max 300 words)

Each proposed paper must be submitted online through the LIMES Congress XXV website no later than the extended deadline 15th of September 2021. Paper proposals will be reviewed by the Session Organisers and the Scientific Committee. The presenter of the paper will be informed by email by mid-February 2022. The congress schedule will be announced by March 2022. Please be aware of the following:

  • To create a well-balanced and diverse congress program only one paper per person is allowed.
  • Presentation time is limited. We advise you to prepare for a ± 15 min presentation. The exact timing and time slot will be communicated once the program is complete.
  • A short Q & A with the audience will be held at the end of each presentation.
  • Session Chairs are also eligible to present one paper or poster.
  • The official congress languages are English, French, and German.
  • In case your paper was not selected for presentation you can be invited to present it in poster format.

Please find below the proposed sessions. If you have any questions please contact us at: 

CFP social network analysis Middle Ages

This event will be of interest to readers of the blog.



International Medieval Congress,

University of Leeds,

4-7 July 2022

Social Network Analysis Researchers of the Middle Ages (SNARMA) is looking for proposals for a strand entitled ‘Network Analysis for Medieval Studies’ at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in 2022. The precise number of sessions and themes of each session will be decided based on the submissions. We would like to encourage the submissions to be as interdisciplinary as possible: the strand is very much open to those working on networks in language, literature, archaeology, etc., as well as history. We would also like to encourage submissions spanning the whole breadth of the Middle Ages chronologically. Papers may be focussed on particular case studies or on methodological questions such as the challenges proposed by fragmentary sources. We hope to present sessions which showcase a variety of different historical source types, such as charters, letters, chronicles, literary sources, and so forth. Papers should engage with either mathematical social network analysis or the theory of social network analysis.

Please email with a title and abstract up to 250 words, as well as you name, position, affiliation, and contact details, by 1 Sept. 2021

Topics may include but are not confined to:

  • Using SNA to define borders within datasets
  • Temporal, dynamic, or stochastic networks
  • Geographical networks
  • Diffusion models of disease spread
  • Diffusion models of religious beliefs
  • Data modelling with historical sources
  • Opportunities and challenges of assigning motivations to historical actors using social network theory
  • Digital prosopography and SNA
  • Advantages and disadvantages of particular software packages
  • SNA as a visualization tool
  • SNA as an heuristic tool
  • ‘Learning curve’ issues in the Humanities
  • Networks of:
    • Objects or artefacts
    • Manuscripts or texts
    • Political elites
    • Kinship and marriage
    • Trade and commerce
    • Block modelling with medieval communities
    • Religious dissent or pilgrimage/ cults of saints
    • Literary worlds; eg. Norse sagas or French chansons de  geste

Bursaries for PhD students to attend The Connected Past, deadline 21 June

We invite PhD candidates who plan to attend The Connected Past conference in Aarhus in September 2021 to apply for one of six bursaries towards the expenses of their attendance.

Maximum amount: 5000 DKK (ca. 673 EUR or 810 USD)

Deadline: June 21st 2021 at 23:00 CET

Notification of successful applicants: June 28th 2021

How to apply? Send a 1-page motivation letter, proof of PhD status (card, enrolment certificate, URL to profile) and a 2-page CV to and register for the conference before the application deadline.

What expenses can be covered? Accommodation, economy travel tickets, and conference registration, all documented by receipts (please note that we are only allowed to reimburse tickets booked directly through an airline and not via Momondo or other search engines).

When will bursary amounts be paid? Successful candidates will be reimbursed after conference attendance.

What should the motivation letter include? Why you would benefit from the event, breakdown of estimated expenses, list other sources of funding accessible to you.

More information:

These bursaries are made possible thanks to support by the Carlsberg Foundation.

Six bursaries for PhD candidates

The restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic have significantly affected the career development opportunities of current PhD students, by effectively removing more than a year of academic networking time. It is crucial for academic activities to continue to be organised to offer science communication and networking opportunities in physical, blended or online formats, and to support the active participation of PhD students. Thanks to the support from the Carlsberg Foundation, we can offer six bursaries to facilitate six outstanding PhD students to attend The Connected Past 2021 in person (restrictions permitting).

PhD course

This year, PhD candidates attending the conference will also have the opportunity to attend a free PhD course at Aarhus University awarding 1.5 ECTS. The PhD course will take place in a blended format on the two days preceding the conference: 27-28 September 2021. The course will give you practical skills with network research in archaeology and history, and will share the experiences of a number of practitioners. Applicants need to apply separately for the conference and PhD course. For more information and registration:

About the Carlsberg Foundation

The Carlsberg Foundation is a commercial foundation that supports basic scientific research within the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities conducted by Danish researchers and international researchers connected to Danish research environments.

The funds for awards mainly come from the profits of Carlsberg A/S, in which the Carlsberg Foundation has a controlling interest. The Carlsberg Foundation was founded by Brewer J.C. Jacobsen in 1876.

Programme online historical networks conference out now

A must-attend for historians and archaeologists interested in networks. This conference brings together English-, French-, and German-language communities, to offer a rich and inspiring programme. CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Via the HNR conference team:

The conference „Historical Networks – Réseaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke“ co-organised by the Historical Network Research group and Réseaux et Histoire will take place from Wednesday, June 30th until Friday, July 2nd, 2021. The complete programme is now online and registration is open. For more information about the programme, registration and more details about the conference, please visit our conference website (

Questions, suggestions, notes regarding the conference? Write us at 


On Wednesday, June 30th, HNR+ResHist 2021 will offer four workshops for beginners as well as advanced network researchers:

Analysis of Two-Mode Networks with Python
Demival Vasques Filho

Exponential Random Graph Models: Theory and Applications on Historical Networks
Antonio Fiscarelli

From historical source to network data
Claire Lemercier

Introduction to Social Network Analysis: Basics and Historical Specificities
Martin Grandjean

Registration for the workshops takes place through EventBrite. Please note that the number of participants per workshop is limited and that the deadline for registering is 23 June (23:30 pm CEST).


HNR+ResHist2021 is proud to present two keynotes which will be delivered by Marion Maisonobe (CNRS, Paris) and Matteo Valleriani (MPIWG, Berlin). You can find their abstracts here below. To attend the keynotes, please register for the conference (deadline: 23 June, 23:30 pm CEST).



The lecture will first provide an overview of the corpus and of its historical meaning from the perspective of the main research question of the project, namely the question concerned with the mechanisms of knowledge homogenization in the early modern time and, therefore, with those processes that allowed for the emergence of a scientific identity of Europe.

Secondly, the major results concerned with the semantic analysis of the corpus and based on a formalization of the data in terms of a multiplex network will be shown. In particular it will be shown a) how a family of historical sources was detected that then executed a hegemonic role all over Europe therefore greatly contributing to the process of homogenization, b) how treatises, denominated “great transmitters”, allowed for the perpetuation of traditional knowledge for about 200 years however in the context of continuous innovation, and c) how different treatises were identified that are the main responsible for the impactful and enduring innovations.

Third, the lecture will present a new network model able to display the process of knowledge transformation in its social and economic context. The lecture therefore concludes by showing analyses conducted in order to understand correlations between families of treatises (semantic knowledge) on one side and societal groups on the other.



We identify three traditional ways of integrating places in network analysis. Firstly, it is common to start from relationships between individuals, families and businesses and to aggregate these relationships to consider the interactions between places that they create (A). Secondly, places can be the instrument of network construction. In other words, the co-presence in certain places makes it possible to deduce relationships between entities (B). Thirdly, the network can be immediately „spatial“ in the sense that the entities in relation as well as their links are materially anchored in space (for example, a hydrographic network, a metro map or a road network) (C). We will see that the sources, analytical issues and methods, and types of visualisation associated with these different networks vary. Our presentation will focus more specifically on type A and B networks by taking up, detailing and updating the methodological proposals of a collaborative research work on the visualization of scholarly worlds from Antiquity to the present day (Andurand et al., 2015).


Nous distinguons trois manières classiques d’intégrer les lieux en analyse de réseaux. Premièrement, il est fréquent de partir de relations entre individus, familles, entreprises et d’agréger ces relations pour considérer les interactions entre lieux qu’elles dessinent (A). Deuxièmement, les lieux peuvent être l’instrument de la construction du réseau. Autrement dit, c’est la co-présence en certains lieux qui permet de déduire des relations entre entités (B). Troisièmement, le réseau peut être immédiatement « spatial » au sens où les entités en relation ainsi que leurs liens sont matériellement ancrés dans l’espace (par exemple, un réseau hydrographique, un plan de métro ou une trame viaire) (C). Nous verrons que les sources, les enjeux et méthodes d’analyse ainsi que les types de visualisation associées à ces différents réseaux varient. Notre exposé se concentrera plus particulièrement sur les réseaux du type A et B en reprenant, détaillant et actualisant les propositions méthodologiques d’un travail de recherche collaboratif sur la visualisation des mondes savants de l’Antiquité à nos jours à partir de différentes sources (Andurand et al., 2015).

We look forward to welcoming you online!

The Historical Networks – Réseaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke 2021 Organisers:
Laurent Beauguitte (CNRS | Paris)
Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)
Antonio Fiscarelli (University of Luxembourg)
Claire Lemercier (CNRS | Paris)
Ingeborg van Vugt (University of Utrecht)

The Connected Past registration, PhD bursaries, and PhD school

Registration for The Connected Past conference is now open. Moreover, we will award bursaries to six excellent PhD students to attend the conference, and we announce a two-day PhD school and workshop preceding the conference.

The Connected Past conference will feature the best of archaeological and historical network research in 25 presentations and a keynote by Prof. Juan Barceló. The event will take place in-person on 29-30 September 2021 at Aarhus University (Denmark), but virtual attendance is possible (please register for virtual attendance). Registration open now.

We are also delighted to announce that bursaries to cover travel, accommodation and registration are available for six excellent PhD students attending The Connected Past conference in person. Please note that conference registration is a requirement for bursary applicants. Deadline: June 21st 2021 at 23:00 CET. Apply now! 

PhD students who plan to attend The Connected Past conference can register for free for a two-day PhD school (27-28 September 2021) awarding you 1.5 ECTS by Aarhus University. The PhD school will take place on Aarhus University’s Moesgaard Campus, but virtual participation is possible. This two-day workshop teaches you practical skills in network research for archaeologists and historians, with expert advice by practitioners. More information and registration

We hope to see many of you in lovely Aarhus!

The #TCPAarhus team

Tom Brughmans
Lieve Donnellan 
Rubina Raja 
Søren Sindbæk 

Save the date: The Connected Past 2021 Aarhus

Interested in archaeological or historical networks? If you landed on this blog, you probably are. The Connected Past is our long-standing inter-disciplinary community for all those who share these interests. This year the conference will take place at Aarhus University on 29-30 September 2021 in a hybrid format. We have an awesome group of 25 papers on a wide range of topics lined up, and a keynote presentation by Joan Anton Barceló.

So put the dates in your calendar and watch this space for more news. We hope to open registration in a few months, and will provide more information on the conference format closer to the date.




September 29-30 2021, Aarhus University

Artefactual Intelligence

Preceded by a two-day workshop 27-28 September (more information to follow).

Schedule to be announced

Read the abstracts for the 25 accepted presentations here.

Keynote speaker is Juan Barceló on Artificial Intelligence in archaeology. 

Computational models used by archaeologists are becoming increasingly complex. We create and tackle ever larger datasets, include more parameters and make machines learn by themselves. Recent approaches to network theory in archaeology, and the historical sciences more generally, have embraced agents, agency and practice theory. But where does this leave objects? Since the earliest days of the discipline, objects have been at the core of the archaeologist’s enquiry. However, until recently, objects were left heavily undertheorised. With the advance of object-related theories, such as ANT or the New Materialism approaches, agency is extended not just to humans but to the objects and materials they handle as well. Does this mean that digital archaeologists and historians are to move from Artificial Intelligence to Artifactual Intelligence? And if so, how? 

Being a community of scholars interested in recent theoretical and methodological innovations in archaeology and the historical sciences, the Connected Past Conference provides a forum for presenting and discussing ongoing work on the intersection between archaeology,  history, digital approaches and theory. The conference will be preceded by a two-day practical workshop (limited capacity, open call for participants to follow soon). 

This year’s conference focuses specifically on the topic of artefacts, human and material agency, artificial and artefactual intelligence and their place within archaeological and historical network studies. In addition, we also welcome presentations on any topic related to archaeological or historical network research and complexity science. 

Conference organisers:

Lieve Donnellan 
Rubina Raja 
Søren Sindbæk 
Tom Brughmans 

Administrative support: 

Eva Mortensen

Get in touch!

Schedule (to be announced)

Venue and attendance details (to be announced)

Travel and accommodation (to be announced)

Submit your paper to CAA, deadline Monday

The CAA is my favourite conference 🙂 And it will be hosted online from Cyprus this year. The deadline to submit your papers is Monday the 1st of March. So go ahead and submit those excellent papers on computational archaeology. You can find the full list of 35 sessions here, covering all possible topics. And I want to point out the following two sessions in particular:

S28. Computational modelling in archaeology: methods, challenges and applications (Standard)

S18. Urban Complexity in Settlements and Settlement Systems of the Mediterranean (Standard)

S28. Computational modelling in archaeology: methods, challenges and applications (Standard)

Iza Romanowska, Aarhus University
Colin D. Wren, University of Colorado
Stefani A. Crabtree, Utah State University 

The steady stream of publications involving archaeological computational models is a clear sign of the discipline’s dedication to the epistemological turn towards formal theory building and testing. Where hypotheses used to be generated verbally in natural language as possible explanations, they are now increasingly often expressed as GIS, agent-based modelling (ABM) or statistical models and meticulously tested against data. The session will showcase the breadth of applications, the ingenuity of researchers deploying new or adapted methods and the depth of insight gained thanks to computational modelling.

With increasing numbers of archaeologists becoming proficient in computer programming it seems that some of the technical and training-related hurdles are being overcome. In general, while some methods in archaeological computational modelling are well established and widely deployed, others (e.g., ABM) are still an emerging subfield with many exciting and fresh applications. 

 We will structure the session upon the three major questions: :

  • The current landscape of computational modelling: what are the strong versus the weak areas? Are certain topics, time periods, types of questions more often modelled than others? If so, why is that?
  • Potential areas for growth: what are the obvious methodological and archaeological directions for computational modelling? Are technical skills still an impediment for a wider adoption?
  • Disciplinary best practice: the need for open science is well recognised among computational archaeologists, but are there other ways in which we can make it easier for members of other branches of archaeology to engage with the computational modelling?

We invite archaeological modellers to present their current case studies, discuss new methods and issues they have encountered as well as their thoughts on the role of computational modelling in general archaeological practice. Computational modelling is meant broadly here as any digital technologies that enable the researcher to represent a real-world system to test hypotheses regarding past human behaviour. 

S18. Urban Complexity in Settlements and Settlement Systems of the Mediterranean (Standard)

Katherine A. Crawford, Arizona State University
Georgios Artopoulos, The Cyprus Institute 
Eleftheria Paliou, University of Cologne 
Iza Romanowska, Aarhus University

The application of quantitative methods to the study of ancient cities and settlement networks has seen increased interest in recent years. Advances in data collection, the use of and integration of diverse big datasets, data analytics including network analysis, computation and the application of digital and quantitative methods have resulted in an increasingly diverse number of studies looking at past cities from new perspectives (e.g. Palmisano et al. 2017; Kaya and Bölen 2017; Fulminante 2019-21). This barrage of new methods, many grounded in population-level systemic thinking, but also some coming from the individual, agent-based perspective enabled researchers to investigate the structural properties and mechanisms driving complex socio-natural systems, such as past cities and towns (e.g. MISMAS; The CRANE Project; Carrignon et al. 2020). These advances have recently opened new possibilities for the study of cities and settlement systems of the Mediterranean, an area with some of the longest known records of urban occupation that could be key for studying a wide range of urban complexity topics (e.g. Lawrence et al. 2020) .

This session invites papers that deal with the applications of computational and digital methodologies, including agent-based modelling, network analysis, urban scaling, gravity and spatial interaction models, space syntax, GIS, and data mining. We look for a diverse range of studies on the interactions between cities, complex meshworks of information flow, simulations of social and socio-natural activities, as well as analyses of groups of cities and their environment (the ecosystem of resources) in the Mediterranean basin. We are especially interested in papers that use agent-based modelling to adopt a comparative and diachronic perspective to studying transformations and transitions of urban and settlement systems and works that focus on the area of Eastern Mediterranean, in particular. Potential topics of consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Settlement persistence,
  • Multi-scale spatial patterns within urban complexes and across settlements,
  • Inter and/or intra urban settlement dynamics & interactions,
  • Transitions and diachronic transformations of urban/settlement patterns,
  • Urban network interactions and modelling,
  • Urban-environmental processes; the impact of climate disturbances on cities and their resources,
  • Formal analysis of cities development of time,
  • Processes involved in urban centres formation and abandonment.


S. Carrignon, T. Brughmans, I. Romanowska, (2020). Tableware trade in the Roman East: Exploring cultural and economic transmission with agent-based modelling and approximate Bayesian computation. PLoS ONE, 15, (11), e0240414. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240414

F. Fulminante (ed), (2019-21). Research Topic: Where Do Cities Come From and Where Are They Going To? Modelling Past and Present Agglomerations to Understand Urban Ways of Life. Frontiers in Digital Humanities

H. Serdar Kaya and Fulin Bölen, (2017). ‘Urban DNA: Morphogenetic Analysis of Urban Pattern’, International Journal of Architecture & Planning, (5), 1, 10-41. DOI: 10.15320/ICONARP.2017.15

D. Lawrence, M. Altaweel, and G. Philip, (2020). New Agendas in Remote Sensing and Landscape Archaeology in the Near East: Studies in Honour of Tony J. Wilkinson. Oxford: Archaeopress.

A Palmisano, A. Bevan, and S. Shennan, (2017). Comparing archaeological proxies for long-term population patterns: An example from central Italy. Journal of Archaeological Science, (87), 59-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.10.001

Saad Twaissi, (2017). ‘The Source Of Inspiration Of The Plan Of The Nabataean Mansion At Az-Zantur Iv In Petra: A Space Syntax Approach’, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, (17), 3, 97-119. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1005494

MISAMS (Modelling Inhabited Spaces of the Ancient Mediterranean Sea),

The CRANE Project (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East)

CFP: rooted cities, wandering gods

This conference will be of interest to readers of the blog. I do recommend submitting an abstract, it look like an exciting event with a great list of confirmed speakers already. Deadline March 20th.

Via the conference organisers:

Rooted Cities, Wandering Gods

Inter-Urban Religious Interactions

Planned dates: November 19th-20th, 2021 – Groningen

Organisers: Tom Britton & Adam Wiznura

(University of Groningen)

Cult, ritual and belief were crucial components of cohesive collective identities throughout the pre-modern world. Often religious practice is presented as unique, bound to the people and institutions of a single community, in service of such specific identities. Yet cities never existed in a vacuum – rather, urban societies underwent constant change brought on by movement and communication between and within their cities (Garbin & Strhan 2017). Forms and understandings of urbanity were transferred between sites through religious exchanges, often changing dramatically in the process, and their characteristics negotiated through dialogue, diplomacy, rivalry and warfare. How was religious practice bound to a single community, and when did it open up to foster regional cooperation? How could the gods of one city find resonance in another? Where could rituals and sacred sites become the focus of pilgrimage or competition? When were the institutions of a city dependent on recognition from its neighbours? Who set the boundaries of all this communication, and who contested them? This conference will explore religion as part of a web of interactions and a force for the refashioning of cities across the world, with a focus on the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.

Looking at religion primarily as a social and ritual practice, the conference will examine the impact of religious interactions on urban memory, culture and identity across communities. It will encompass a wide range of religious activities, covering both the inter-urban networks of city-state societies and the connections between cities embedded in larger territorial states. Yet localised sub-communities within the urban frame were also key to establishing links between cities and at numerous scales. We will focus on the groups of worshippers themselves – how their structure and selfrepresentation defined engagement with the pilgrims, migrants, merchants, envoys and epistolaries who facilitated communication. Through these interactions, wider communities of practice were strung together across great distances, forming networks that both incorporated and transcended local identities.

Confirmed speakers for the conference so far include: Anna Collar (Southampton), Judy Barringer (Edinburgh), Matthias Haake (Münster), Sofia Kravaritou (Oxford), Rubina Raja (Aarhus), Ian Rutherford (Reading) and members of the project “Religion and Urbanity” (Erfurt).

We invite those interested in participating to submit papers exploring networks, movement, connectivity, religion and identity in an urban context. These should ask how interactions between cities shaped religious practice, and how cult and worship in turn affected communication. Topics may include, but are certainly not limited to:

● Pilgrimage – travel between cities for religious purposes, both by private individuals and organised by civic authorities. Who felt the need to travel in order to worship? How did this change their standing within urban communities? How did citizens facilitate and profit from the journeys of pilgrims?

● Materiality – the physical environment in which interactions took place, and the ways in which it might be differently experienced. Where were religious institutions situated in the urban landscape? How was “foreign” cultic material mapped on to the city?

● Identity – the reimagining of civic identities through religious interactions, and the creation of supra-civic communities of shared religious practice. When did new cults and ideas impact people’s self-perception as citizens and as worshippers? Did engagement with cult abroad threaten communal cohesion, or strengthen it?

● Communication – the use of shared places and practices of worship to circulate information among cities. How were political, philosophical and technological ideas transmitted and transformed through urban religion? Which interactions rested on common understandings of worship, and which required radically new ways of thinking?

We ask all those interested in contributing a paper to submit abstracts (300 words) for papers suitable for 30 minute presentations. Please send abstracts to:

The deadline for abstracts will be March 20th and notification of acceptance will be sent by early April. We would like to receive written drafts of papers soon after the conference as a resulting publication is envisaged, to appear in late 2022 or early 2023.

This conference takes place within the framework of the NWO project Connecting the Greeks at the University of Groningen (see It is also held in conjunction with the “Religion and Urbanity: reciprocal formations” project at the University of Erfurt (see ).

Communities of Knowledge ( Tagging, Prosopography, and Networks

The below virtual conference sounds really interesting (info via Nathan Gibson):

Registration is now open for the virtual forum Jews, Christians, and Muslims as Colleagues and Collaborators in the Abbasid Near East, which will take place as 9 sessions (18 presentations) between October 20th and December 11th. The presentations listed below involve projects working with digital humanities and might be of particular interest to those on this list. Please see for the full program of the virtual forum.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 16:00 CET Project DemoCommunities of Knowledge ( Tagging, Prosopography, and Networks
Nathan P. Gibson, Nadine Löhr, Robin SchmahlUniversity of Munich (LMU)
The project “Communities of Knowledge: Interreligious Networks of Scholars in Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s History of the Physicians” aims to examine the social encounters of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish scholars in the Abbasid Near East, broadly defined as 750–1258. While the fact of exchange between scholars of many different communities during this period is well established, and their accomplishments are well known, the ways in which this exchange occurred are not as well researched. Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s (1203–1270 AD) biographical dictionary provides rich information about such interactions, which sometimes occurred directly between scholars, but other times involved much larger networks of people, including patrons, patients, family members, rulers, and slaves.The project asks, in general, how Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa depicts these networks, as well as, more specifically, which people, places, and types of communication were involved in them. This project demo will explain the different stages of this analysis. First, we identify and “tag” people and places in the source text. Next, we use these tags to create prosopographical nuggets called “factoids,” which encapsulate many different assertions throughout the text about the people involved and form the basis for mapping their relationships as a network. Finally, we analyze these networks, using quantitative metrics to focus our attention on the persons, places, or features in the network that call for in-depth qualitative study. We anticipate—and our preliminary results suggest—that this process will bring to light specific but underappreciated aspects of interreligious exchange.
The “Communities of Knowledge” project is funded by the “Kleine Fächer – Große Potentiale” program of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education, 2018–2021.


Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 16:00 CET Research Paper DiscussionOff the Record: Networks of Lost Arabic Books
Nadine LöhrSaxon Academy of Sciences
Library records and manuscript catalogues are fundamental sources for historians, nevertheless, researchers are aware that a ​transmission process is determined by both the extant manuscripts as well as by a great number of texts which were lost in time. Historians of German literature claim that for every preserved work there are thousands of lost ones. While it is difficult to appreciate the number of lost sources, it is vital to consider the untransferred and lost knowledge in order to understand the exchange of ideas within a community.
To get a better insight into ​once well known scientific Arabic literature​, this article seeks to trace networks evolving around works which were ​produced and circulated between the 8th and 13th century and are ​presumed to be lost today​.
As a starting point, this study will be based on an analysis of the works mentioned in ​Ibn Abī Usaibiʿa​’s ​History of Physicians​. I wish to draw attention to the quantity of missing works still read, or at least heard of by ​Ibn Abī Usaibiʿa​. I examine ​general trends of what kind of books got lost and (if feasible) through what processes. ​Thereby it may be possible to observe certain regional, cultural, temporal or religious trends, and determine what the percentage of lost medical literature from a certain region is.
The second part of this article will ​focus on the afterlife of astronomical and astrological works lost after the 13th c. An analysis of networks evolving around the lost works will be backed up with further resources and literature. I wish to understand who were the authors and owners of books on the astral sciences now lost? Were these books according to ​Ibn Abī Usaibiʿa​’s insights shared, studied and discussed within various communities or were they held in so-called “small world communities”?


Friday, December 11, 2020, 16:00 CET Research Paper DiscussionLabeling Religious Affiliation in Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s History of Physicians: A QuestNathan P. GibsonUniversity of Munich (LMU)     
The biographical dictionary of Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa (1203–1270 AD), titled The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians (Arabic, ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ) or History of Physicians for short, is perhaps unequaled in the extent to which it details the social interactions of scholars from many different religious communities. Ṭabaqāt literature in general tends to provide a kind of Who’s-Who resource collecting information about personages in particular categories, such as hadith transmitters or poets. Normally authors tended to make these categories applicable to a certain religious tradition, but Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s project broke the mold by outlining a profession (medicine and related areas) in which collaboration and exchange among communities was typical. The History of Physicians is thus an ideal target for large-scale analysis of interreligious exchange, as the project “Communities of Knowledge” is in the process of doing.
Nevertheless, incorporating “religious affiliation” as a factor in analyzing Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s text is fraught with complexity. First is the looming issue of what religion even means in this context. Second is the question of which terms or phrases the author uses to intentionally signal a particular affiliation. Third, which other characteristics may be taken to indicate religious affiliation, as perhaps certain titles, professions, actions, or (very cautiously) names? Finally, what should be done with mixed indications, whether these are due to inaccurate sources, ambiguous affiliation, or conversion?
I will present a case for recording these textual indications using the prosopographical tool of “factoids,” which can support a more nuanced analysis than simply recording a single affiliation for each person. Each factoid, representing an assertion by Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa or his sources, is one of several markers of religious affiliation, which may point toward different affiliations for the same person. The strength of these markers and their agreement or variance for a particular person provide specific data points that can be used to reconstruct networks of communities while also allowing for alternate scenarios.
The “Communities of Knowledge” project is funded by the “Kleine Fächer – Große Potentiale” program of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education, 2018–2021.


Friday, December 11, 2020, 17:00 CET Project DemoIndexing a Shared Knowledge Culture from Many Perspectives: Historical Index of the Medieval Middle East (HIMME) as a Tool for Researching Diversity
Thomas A. CarlsonOklahoma State University
The medieval Middle East, at the crossroads of Africa and Eurasia, included more distinct yet intersecting literary traditions in more languages than any other part of the premodern world. While several of these literary traditions were religiously demarcated, others such as Arabic and Persian were multi-religious written cultures. Despite this, the religious diversity of this region is often conceptualized as separate communities who sometimes interacted. Religion was certainly a socially relevant category employed by medieval people to organize their world, and yet people from every religion wrote about the same government, the same society, and largely the same culture as expressed in religious multiplicity.
A new digital research project (HIMME: Historical Index of the Medieval Middle East) is developing a reference tool to demonstrate the shared culture and society of the diverse medieval Middle East. It will provide a union index to selected primary sources in Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Persian, and Syriac, indexing the people, places, and practices mentioned in each literary tradition. The result is that someone interested in, for example, the famous counter-Crusader (and sultan loyal to the Abbasid caliphate) Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn can search a database and discover relevant primary sources in unexpected Hebrew and Syriac as well as expected Arabic and Latin sources, while the later conqueror Timur Lenk is also mentioned in Greek and Armenian texts that might easily be missed. This presentation will offer a preview of the project (to be published officially on August 1, 2021), a discussion of its scope, and an exploration of its implications for the culture of knowledge shared among Jews, Christians, and Muslims of the medieval Middle East.
This project has been made possible in part by the (USA’s) National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this presentation do not necessarily represent those of the (USA’s) National Endowment for the Humanities or of Oklahoma State University.
How it works
The virtual forum is conceived as an opportunity to discuss the state of research on interreligious knowledge exchange. Half-hour project demos will showcase ongoing projects in the area, while one-hour research paper discussions are a chance to interact on a deeper level with researchers who are in the process of formulating approaches to the subject.

  • Students, academics, and anyone else interested may register by clicking on any of the registration links. This will take you to a Zoom page, where you can select any or all of the nine sessions to attend virtually. The number of Zoom participants for each session is limited to 100.
  • Registered participants will be sent drafts of research papers to read and comment on ahead of time. We’ll use the web tool to do this collaboratively. You can get a free account here, and you’ll receive an email ahead of the session containing a link to read the paper and another link to join the private group where you can comment or ask questions.
  • During the live Zoom sessions, you’ll hear two presentations and, for research paper discussions, 1–2 responses from invited participants. The remainder of the time will be open for you to interact with the speaker, so come with questions!
  • Proceedings: Revised papers from the forum will be submitted to a special issue of medieval worlds: comparative & interdisciplinary studies, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ISSN 2412-3196).

All times are Central European Time (CET). Logistical support has been provided by team members Vanessa Birkhahn and Malinda Tolay.                 
From the eighth century to the thirteenth century and beyond, scholars in the Abbasid and neighboring realms pioneered study in medicine, mathematics, the astral arts, and many other disciplines. Scholarly treatises from that era together with biographical sources such as Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s History of Physicians and documentary texts from the Cairo Genizah show that this scholarly activity was not isolated to a single community. Instead, it emerged from a rich exchange between scholars affiliated with many different communities: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Samaritan, and others. Sometimes this exchange occurred through books or letters while at other times it was face-to-face in formal, institutional settings, side-by-side in the workplace, or even mediated through patrons, servants, or family members.
In the framework of the project “Communities of Knowledge” (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), we are hosting  a series of discussions on the topic of person-to-person knowledge exchange among Near Eastern communities during Abbasid rule.

Submit your micro presentation for CUDAN satellite at NetSci, and I get to keynote yay :D

NetSci is an awesome conference. Everyone interested in network science can find something of interest there. Max Schich and colleagues have established a long tradition of hosting art and humanities satellite events to NetSci: my kinda thing! This year, there will be a cultural data analytics satellite at this virtual event, and I get to do a tiny micro keynote, yay 😀

Submit a single slide by 15/09/2020

Conference date: 20/09/2020

Call, via Max Schich:

Dear Friends of Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks at NetSci,

The CUDAN satellite on Cultural Analysis at NetSci2020 will take the format of an “inverted conference session” to maximize Salon-style personal interaction. To participate, we ask you to submit a single slide by 2020-09-15 to The symposium will happen on Sunday 2020-09-20. Details can be found at The keynote will be presented by archaeologist Tom Brughmans (Arhus University). To participate you need to register for NetSci2020, at least for a day pass:

If you are on Twitter, please spread the word by retweeting this:

PS: This will likely be the last email from this account. I will transfer the AHCN contact list to the CUDAN Open Lab list, where we will post announcements related to our ongoing research on Cultural Data Analytics. The scope will be broader, aiming towards a systematic science of art and culture, including but not limited to NetSci relevant issues. If you are not interested, this is a good moment to unsubscribe from this list. The website of the CUDAN Open Lab is

Greetings, Max

Prof. Dr. Maximilian Schich
ERA Chair for Cultural Data Analytics at Tallinn University &

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