Book: support networks for persecuted Jews in WWII

9783110368949I find support and assistance networks extremely interesting! Mainly because they pose so many interesting missing data problems, and as an archaeologist I like a good data problem from time to time. These kinds of networks are very much based on trust, since once a person or connection is compromised it will have disastrous, often murderous, consequences for many in the network. This topic is explored for the case of persecuted Jews in National Socialism during World War II in Marten Düring’s work. He traced a number of different groups of people, how they got in touch with each other, and how they provided assistance to persecuted Jews. Marten told me in most cases the support networks grow slowly and are built on strong trusted relationships. Often new individuals will be introduced to the network through a common contact who has received assistance before and vouches for the individual. However, there are a few cases when individuals gambled and got in touch without a pre-existing well-trusted connection. Such decisions could be disastrous, sometimes leading to the entire network being rounded up by the Gestapo, questioned and sentenced (which is often why these support networks are documented and why Marten was able to reconstruct them). The ‘data problems’ I mentioned are a consequence of the sheer secretive nature of the support network: hiding the fact you offered support to persecuted Jews was a question of life or death. It is particularly hard to reconstruct support networks that were not caught by the Gestapo, and one can only assume that those that were caught are not entirely documented, that there are a lot of missing nodes and links. Marten Düring offers us an in-depth look at a few cases which are particularly well-known, thanks to his rummaging around in archives for years.

I believe this study will prove invaluable for better understanding support networks and the missing data problems they pose. I see particular similarities with networks of the trade in licit antiquities, organized crime and really any type of so-called ‘dark network’. This work offers a reminder of how the study of the past can help us tackle challenges in the present.

Marten’s work was recently published by De Gruyter as a book, check it out here and find the abstract below.

Also keep an eye out for Marten’s chapter in the forthcoming ‘The Connected Past’ edited volume to be published by Oxford University Press early in 2016 🙂

Why did people help Jews hide from the Nazis? This study examines interactions between helpers and aid recipients using the methods of social network research. Based on six Berlin case studies, the author looks at the social determinants for willingness to help, trust formation, network effects, and the daily practice of providing help from the perspectives of helpers and aid recipients.

Historical Network Research vol. 3 in Lisbon

hnr2It’s been three years since the first edition of the international Historical Network Research conference, in Hamburg. The success of the first edition sparked an awesome second edition in Ghent, set in an amazing restored abbey complex. Now it’s time for episode III in Lisbon. The call for papers is open, please note the submission deadline of 30 June, details below. The Historical Network Research community is going strong and growing, along these conferences they promised to keep on organizing the smaller workshops they’ve been hosting in Germany for years now, so keep an eye out for that. I can definitely recommend attending the conference, I found the Ghent edition I attended a great experience.

CFP deadline: June 30 2015

Website

Call for papers

The Historical Network Research is pleased to announce its 3rd Annual conference. Having been held in Hamburg in 2013 and Ghent in 2014, this year it will be held in Lisbon, on 15-18 September 2015.
This will be an opportunity to present historical research embedded in the field of social network analysis, as well as a chance to benefit from workshops designed to acquire analytic and visual tools.
Naturally, the Conference will be open not only to arts and humanities researchers, but also to social, formal, applied and natural scientists, who are interested in historical research and processes.
 
We welcome proposals for individual papers discussing any historical period and geographical area. Some of the topics include but are not limited to: Economic and business history; Scientific networks and collaborations; Technological and research networks; Social movements and political mobilization; Social network theory and historical research; Policy networks; Social network analysis, war and conflict; Kinship and community; Social networks and health; The geographical scope of networks; Cultural and intellectual networks; Methodological explorations

Submissions

Papers for presentation will be selected, after peer review, on the basis of abstracts (up to 500 words). To apply please also include the title, 3 keywords, institutional affiliation, contact details and a brief CV or bio.
Each presentation will last no more than 15 minutes. The default language is English.

HNR workshop Bochum

bochumLast month’s Historical Network Research conference in Ghent was awesome! Can’t get enough of that networky goodness? Then you might be interested in the next event in the HNR series: “Vom Schürfen und Knüpfen – Text Mining und Netzwerkanalyse für Historiker_innen”, 10-12 April 2015 in Bochum. More info below.

HNR Workshop 2015

Vom Schürfen und Knüpfen – Text Mining und Netzwerkanalyse für Historiker_innen 10.–12. April 2015
Als 9. Veranstaltung in der Reihe „Historische Netzwerkforschung“ findet im April 2015 ein Workshop zu semantisch-sozialen Netzwerken an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum statt. Die Workshop-Reihe bietet historisch orientierten Forscher_innen aller Fachbereich erste Einblicke in die Methodik und eine Plattform zum Austausch über die neuesten Techniken der Netzwerkanalyse. Unter dieser Zielsetzung wird sich der Bochumer Workshop mit der Methode des Text Mining beschäftigen, die eine zunehmende Automatisierung der Erstellung von Netzwerken aus historischem Material ermöglicht. Darüber hinaus spielt die Frage nach den Dimensionen von Texten, die durch diese Methoden repräsentiert werden können, eine Rolle. Hierbei bieten semantisch-soziale Netzwerke die Möglichkeit, sich zum einen mit Begriffszusammenhängen und Konzeptualisierungen, zum anderen mit Beziehungen zwischen Entitäten auseinanderzusetzen.

Der Workshop soll auch Teilnehmer_innen ohne Vorkenntnisse zeigen, wie Relationen von Worten und/oder Entitäten aus einem Text mithilfe von computergestützten Verfahren erzeugt und graphisch abgebildet werden können, ohne dass sie zunächst manuell (beispielsweise in einer Tabelle) erfasst werden müssen.

Am Freitagvormittag besteht die Möglichkeit, vor der offiziellen Eröffnung des Workshops, an einer Einführung in die Programmiersprachen Python und/oder R teilzunehmen. Während des Workshops gibt es eine mehrstündige Session zum Visualisierungsprogramm Gephi.

Darüber hinaus sollen die Teilnehmer_innen erste Einblicke in die folgenden Bereiche bekommen:

Eigenschaften, die ein Text besitzen sollte, um ein Netzwerk erstellen zu können
Möglichkeiten, die es zur Verbesserung der Qualität von Netzwerken gibt
Tools und Computerprogramme, die bei der Erstellung von Netzwerken helfen können
Fragestellungen, die durch die semantisch-soziale Netzwerkanalyse beantwortet werden können
Auf diese Weise soll gezeigt werden, wie man einen Text zunächst „schürft“, um schließlich ein Netzwerk zu „knüpfen“.

Zum Call for Presentations/Participation

It’s that conference season again!

This month is just raining interesting conferences again! If you’re into the kind of research I like that is: social simulation, The Connected Past, and Historical Networks Research … Ooooooh Yeeeeaaah! 🙂

Two weeks ago I was in Barcelona for the Social Simulation Conference and the Simulating the Past satellite conference. Reports of this event on my blog did not get beyond part 1. That’s just because Barcelona is so much fun and it would be a shame to sit in a hotel room writing blog posts any longer than I already did. The conference was great overall. There was a surprising number of talks presenting a project outline rather than results. Although conferences are good places to recruit people on such projects, these talks are not always as engaging as others.

Ulrik Brandes giving a keynote presentation at TCP London
Ulrik Brandes giving a keynote presentation at TCP London

Last week I co-organised The Connected Past with Tim Evans and Ray Rivers at Imperial College London, and the rest of the Connected Past team. It strikes me as a wonderful thing how every time we organise an event we attract a truly multi-disciplinary, young, and curious audience. Interestingly there is also always a slight majority of female scholars at The Connected Past events, which is very welcome given that in academia often the opposite is true. Our audience is always a particularly studious bunch. Humanities scholars looking to learn more about what that network thing is all about, and scholars from the hard sciences who want to know if they can jump on a research topic/problem/dataset that is slightly more sexy than gravity. The keynote talks by Alan Wilson, Ulrik Brandes and Joaquim Fort were brilliant! Each drew from their personal experiences of applying a different computation modelling approach to archaeological research: agent-based modelling, network modelling, and statistical modelling. In particular, I can recommend Brandes’co-authored paper entitled ‘what is network science?’, which is definitely required reading for anyone following this blog. I am sure this is not gonna be the last Connected Past event. In fact, I’ll be able to announce some cool TCP news very soon I hope.

This week it’s time for Historical Networks Research, an initiative that already received loads of blogspace here. No need to break the trend: expect reports from the keynotes and talks as the conference progresses over the coming days. I am particularly looking forward to the keynote by Claire Lemercier, who organised a fantastic TCP in Paris in April. Claire is a real pioneer in applying network science in history, and her review article on the subject is a must-read for any historians interested in networks. Stay tuned for more on Historical Networks Research soon!

Archaeological and historical network analysts unite!

315px-I_Need_You_on_the_Job_Every_Day_-_NARA_-_534704Network science is becoming more commonly applied in both archaeology and history. But this is not happening without difficulties. Pioneers in both disciplines are now trying to overcome the numerous challenges that still surround their use of network techniques: how to deal with fragmentary data, performing analyses over extremely long time spans, using material data in network science to understand past human behaviour, …. I believe archaeologists and historians should face these challenges together! Through collaboration we might come to a better understanding of the use of network science in our disciplines much faster. In a recently published article in Nouvelles de l’Archéologie, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward, Claire Lemercier and myself show how many of the challenges that archaeologists and historians have identified are actually not discipline-specific: we CAN collaborate to tackle them together. Since this article is in French I wanted to provide an English summary of our argumentation here (written with my co-authors). The full article can be downloaded on Academia or through my bibliography page.

History

One of the key aspects of historical sources, compared to archaeological sources, is that the former often allow for the identification of past individuals, by name, and by role. This richness of data at the individual level means that network analytical methods can be very powerful in the illumination of past social networks and the details of particular places and times – offering, where the data are good enough, a window onto past social lives and interactions, and allowing the synchronic analysis of social networks at a particular moment in time.

However, the issues most commonly mentioned by historical network analysts also concern problematic and incomplete data. These issues are undeniably more significant for archaeology and history than for contemporary social sciences such as sociology. But we should not overestimate their potential impact. Even sociological research in contemporary populations face similar issues where full data may not be available for a variety of reasons, and although the problems are clearly more fundamental in history and archaeology, this also means that researchers in both disciplines have long been accustomed to dealing with, and developing methods at least partially compensating for, partial and biased datasets. As a result, this may be one important area where archaeology and history can contribute its expertise to other disciplines working with imperfect network data.

Archaeology

In contrast to history, archaeology is much less frequently furnished with such focused evidence. In archaeology, individuals are typically identified indirectly through the material remains they leave behind, and even where they can be identified, they often remain without names or specified roles.  Not only is archaeological data typically not ‘individualized’, but it can also rarely be attributed an exact date. Most archaeological data typically has date ranges with differing probabilities attached to them, making the establishment of contemporaneity between entities/potential nodes in networks (e.g. individuals; events; settlements) highly problematic. Because of this, archaeologists have tended to focus on the synchronic study of human behavioural change over the long-term, rather than on the diachronic examination of behaviour and interaction. A further characteristic of archaeological data is that it is also likely to be more strongly geographically grounded. Indeed, the geographical location of archaeological data is often among the few pieces of information archaeologists possess. Finally, network analytical methods in archaeology tend to focus most closely on long-term changes in the everyday lives of past peoples.

Common challenges in archaeology and history

Alongside these differences, there are also a number of common challenges facing archaeology and history, as ultimately both disciplines aim to achieve similar goals relating to understanding past interactions and processes.

The most significant of these common challenges are the fragmentary datasets that often characterize both disciplines; we typically deal with bad samples drawn from populations of unknown size and/or with unknown boundaries, snapshots of the past that are heavily biased by differential preservation and/or observation effects. However we argue that this does not exclude the use network techniques in our disciplines, nor does it limit us to only those research contexts for which high quality datasets are available.

A second issue facing our disciplines is that many methodological and theoretical network approaches have been developed in other disciplines to address particular research themes. As a result, they therefore function according to certain rules and/or have certain specific data requirements that might prevent straightforward applications in our disciplines.

Furthermore,  using a network approach to study a past phenomenon necessarily requires a researcher to make a series of decisions about how the parameters of that phenomenon should be represented – for example, what entities to use as nodes and what forms of relationship to model as vertices. Archaeologists and historians familiar with the analytical and visualization techniques used by researchers studying modern phenomena may find many analytical approaches and visualization techniques that are not appropriate or achievable. The past phenomena we are interested in, the kinds of questions our data allows us to ask, and the often very specific parameters of human behaviour assumed by archaeologists and historians for investigating the past, are likely to mean we will ultimately need to develop purpose-made visualization and analysis techniques. At the least we will need to acquire a critical understanding of the various methods available if we are to represent archaeological and historical network  data in appropriate ways – and indeed, to ‘read’ such visualizations and analysis results correctly.

Finally, the poor chronological control characteristic to a certain extent of historical and to a much greater extent of archaeological datasets, limits our knowledge regarding the order in which nodes and links in networks became salient and also the degree of contemporaneity between nodes. This is likely to have significant ramifications for the ways in which archaeologists and historians visualize and analyse networks, driving a need to consider ‘fuzzy’ networks, margins of error and probabilistic models, as well as the consideration of complex processes of network change and evolution over time.

Unite! Meeting the challenges together

In the recent surge of network applications in archaeology and history, it would seem that the two disciplines have thus far focused their efforts on the more obvious potential applications which mirror those most common in other disciplines, such as the identification and interpretation of ‘small-world’ network structure or the choice of datasets that are readily envisaged as or translated into network data (e.g. road and river networks). Such analyses have demonstrated the potential of the methods for archaeological and historical datasets; however, we believe that potential applications go far beyond this, and that network approaches hold a wealth of untapped potential for the study of the past. To achieve this potential, we will need to become more critical and more creative in our applications, and explore not simply what network science can offer the study of the past, but also what our disciplines offer in terms of developing that science – firstly to tackle specifically archaeological and historical questions, but ultimately to broaden the scope of the science itself as methodologies specifically developed for use in archaeological and historical contexts are taken up for use in tackling similar questions in other disciplines.

TCP (2013_05_12 19_17_14 UTC)Initiatives like The Connected Past and Historical Network Research offer a platform that would allow for exactly this kind of interaction between network scientists and those applying network science to the study of the past. The challenges individual members were encountering in our own research across archaeology and history encouraged us to consider developing a mutually supportive space in which to share concerns and problems, and to discuss ideas and approaches for moving beyond these.

We suggest that simply bringing people together through conferences, workshops, conference sessions and more informal groupings is key to fostering the dialogue between the disciplines that is so important to move forward applications of network analysis to the study of the past. Talking to each other across traditional disciplinary boundaries is vital in the ongoing development of network perspectives on the past. However, as noted above, at the same time we also need to be more sensitive to the specific demands of our disciplinary goals and our datasets and develop new network methods that suit our disciplines better. The sociological roots of most social network analysis software packages means that these are often designed and engineered to address discipline-specific research concepts that may not be appropriate for archaeology and history. SNA software has generally been created to deal with interactions between people in a modern setting – where the individual answers to questions about interactions can be documented with a degree of accuracy. As such, this software and network methodologies in general will need to be applied with care and ideally even developed from scratch for use with networks comprised of nodes which are words, texts, places or artefacts, for the characteristically fragmentary and poorly chronologically controlled datasets of archaeology and history, and for research that aims to go beyond the structuring of individual networks of contemporary nodes to investigate questions of network evolution and change. While interdisciplinary dialogue is crucial, we will need to be sensitive to the discipline-specific idiosyncracies of our data and to critique rather than adopt wholesale practices used in other fields. In this way, rather than apologizing for the ‘deficiencies’ of our datasets in comparison with those characteristic of other disciplines, we will also be able to make novel contributions to the wider field based on the new questions and challenges the study of the past offers network science.

CFP Historical Network Research at Sunbelt SNA conferece Florida

histnetAfter a successful session at the Hamburg Sunbelt SNA conference and their conference also in Hamburg, my colleagues at Historical Network Research are hosting another session at next year’s Sunbelt, this time in Florida! All details for their call for papers you can find below.

Call for papers “Historical Network Research” at the XXXIV. Sunbelt Conference, 18-23 February – St Pete Beach

The concepts and methods of social network analysis in historical research are recently being used not only as a mere metaphor but are increasingly applied in practice. In the last decades several studies in the social sciences proved that formal methods derived from social network analysis can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies of historical data as well. These studies however tend to be strongly influenced by concerns, standards of data processing, and, above all, epistemological paradigms that have their roots in the social sciences. Among historians, the term network has been used in a metaphorical sense alone for a long time. It was only recently that this has changed.

Following a total of five successful sessions on network analysis in the historical disciplines at Sunbelt 2013 in Hamburg, we invite papers which integrate social network analysis methods and historical research methods and reflect on the added value of their methodologies. Topics could cover (but are not limited to) network analyses of correspondences, social movements, kinship or economic systems in any historical period.

Submission will be closing on November 30. Please limit your abstract to 250 words and submit your abstract here. Please mention “Historical Network Research” as session title in the comment section of the abstract submission website.

For further information on the venue and conference registration see the conference website, for any questions regarding the panel, please get in touch with the session organizers.

Session organizers:
Marten During, Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l’Europe, md@martenduering.com
Martin Stark, University of Hamburg, martin.stark@wiso.uni-hamburg.de
Scott B. Weingart, Indiana University Bloomington, weingart.scott+irregular@gmail.com

Check historical networks research for a detailed bibliography, conferences, screencasts and other resources.

With best wishes,

Marten on behalf of Martin and Scott

Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks News

The Leonardo AHCN satellite symposium at NetSci is becoming a real tradition thanks to all the work of Max Schich, Isabel Meirelles and Roger Malina and their collaborators. They recently launched an ebook which I mentioned in a previous post. This ebook is discussed more elaborately in a recent Leonardo Journal podcast, so listen to that if you are considering buying the ebook. The previous edition of AHCN was also discussed by artist and writer Meredith Tromble. It’s a really nice story about the event and Meredith shares some cool insights and experiences.

Looking forward to next year’s edition!

Registration open for The Connected Past!

Registration for ‘The Connected Past: People, Networks and Complexity in Archaeology and History’ is now open. Everyone is welcome to attend this two-day multi-disciplinary symposium. Registration and payment details are available online. Please note that places to the event are limited, we suggest registering well before the deadline of 29 February to make sure your seat is reserved. Registration for concessions is £30, standard rate is £45.

The event will take place 24-25 March 2012 at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Southampton (UK). This is the two days before and at the same venue as the Computer Applications and Quantitative Techniques in Archaeology conference (CAA2012). We are delighted with the great response to our call for papers by scholars from disciplines as diverse as archaeology, history, mathematics, physics, computer science and classics. The range of topics is equally diverse, but all contributors and keynotes (Carl Knappett, Irad Malkin and Alex Bentley) promise to make original contributions to the use of networks and complexity in archaeology and history. The full list of accepted papers and posters is now available online and below.

We are looking forward to seeing you at The Connected Past!

Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar and Fiona Coward
http://connectedpast.soton.ac.uk/

Confirmed presentations:

Carl Knappett – keynote (University of Toronto)
“Networks of Objects, Meshworks of Things”

Irad Malkin – keynote (Tel Aviv University)
“The Spatial Turn, Network Theory, and the Archaic Greek World”

Alex Bentley – keynote (University of Bristol)
“Networks, complexity and the archaeology of complex social systems”

Craig Alexander (University of Cambridge)
“Networks and intervisibility: a study of Iron Age Valcamonica”

Juan A. Barceló et al. (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
“Simulating the Emergence of Social Networks of Restricted Cooperation in Prehistory. A Bayesian network approach”

Andrew Bevan (University College London)
“When nodes and edges dissolve. Incorporating geographic uncertainty into the analysis of settlement interactions”

Tom Brughmans (Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southampton)

Marco Büchler (Leipzig eHumanities Research Group)
“Generation of Text Graphs and Text Re-use Graphs from Massive Digital Data”

Mark Depauw and Bart Van Beek (K.U. Leuven)
“Authority and Social Interaction in Graeco‐Roman Egypt”

Marten Düring (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen)
“How reliable are centrality and clustering measures for data collected from fragmentary and heterogenuous historical sources? A case study”

Tim Evans (Imperial College London)
“Which Network Model Should I Use? A Quantitative Comparison of Spatial Network Models in Archaeology”

Evi Gorogianni (University of Akron)
“Marrying out: a consideration of cultural exogamy and its implications on material culture”

Eivind Heldaas Seland (University of Bergen)
“Travel and religion in late antiquity”

Elena Isayev (University of Exeter)
“Edging beyond the shore: Questioning Polybius’s view of Rome and Italy at the dawn of the ‘global moment’ of the 2nd century BC”

Anne Kandler and Fabio Caccioli (Santa Fe Institute)
“The effects of network structure on cultural change”

Katherine Larson (University of Michigan)
“Sign Here: Tracing Spatial and Social Networks of Hellenistic Sculptors”

Claire Lemercier and Paul-André Rosental (CNRS and Sciences-Po, Paris)
“Networks in time and space. The structure and dynamics of migration in 19th-century Northern France”

Qiming Lv et al. (University of Sheffield)
“Network-based spatial-temporal modelling of the first arrival of prehistoric agriculture”

Herbert Maschner et al. (Idaho State University, Idaho Museum of Natural History, Santa Fe Institute, Stanford University, Sandhill Institute)
“Food-webs as network tools for investigating historic and prehistoric roles of humans as consumers in marine ecosystems”

Barbara Mills et al. (University of Arizona)
“Dynamic Network Analysis: Stability and Collapse in U.S. Southwest, A.D. 1200-1500″

Ekaterini Mitsiou (Institute for Byzantine Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences)
“Networks of state building: State collapses and aristocratic networks in the 13th century Eastern Mediterranean”

Angus Mol and Corinne Hofman (Leiden University)
“Networks Set in Stone: Lithic production and exchange in the early prehistoric northeastern Caribbean”

Johannes Preiser-Kappeller (Institute for Byzantine Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences)
“Luhmann in Byzantium. A systems theory approach for historical network analysis”

Alessandro Quercia and Lin Foxhall (University of Leicester)
“Weaving networks in pre-Roman South Italy. Using loom weight data to understand complex relationships and social identities”

Ray Rivers (Imperial College London)
“‪Can we always get what we want?”

Wilko Schroeter (University of Vienna)
“The social marriage network of Europe’s ruling families from 1600-1900″

Søren Sindbæk (University of York)
“Contextual network synthesis: Reading communication in archaeology”

Amara Thornton (University College London)
“Reconstructing Networks in the History of Archaeology”

Astrid Van Oyen (University of Cambridge)
“Actors as networks? How to make Actor-Network-Theory work for archaeology: on the reality of categories in the production of Roman terra sigillata”

Confirmed posters:

Craig Alexander and Alberto Marretta (University of Cambridge, Centro Ricerche Antropologiche Alpi Centrali)
“Network analysis of “complex topographic” images in Valcamonica (Lombardy), Italy”

Kimberley van den Berg (VU University Amsterdam)
“Good to Think With: exploring the potential of networks as a concept metaphor or intellectual tool”

Sarah Craft (Brown University)
“Networks on the Ground: Travel Infrastructure and Early Christian Pilgrimage”

Marta Fanello (University of Leicester)
“Prismatic networks: interaction clues in Late Iron Age Britain”

Ioanna Galanaki (British School at Athens)
“Social change and inter/intra-group connectivity: the example of the Middle Bronze Age communities in Mainland Greece”

Aaron Greener

Stefan Jaenicke (Leipzig eHumanities Research Group)
“Europeana4D – Visualizing and exploring geospatio-temporal data”

Asuman Laetzer-Lasar (University of Cologne)
“Network of Hellenistic Ephesos under Roman Rule – the ceramic evidence”

Frank Prendergast (Dublin Institute of Technology and University College Dublin)

Giulia Saltini Semerari (Royal Netherlands Institute at Rome)
“A feedback loop: the socioeconomic causes of the Orientalising revolution”

Keith Scholes (University of York)
“Building Early Medieval Networks: Sources and Construction”

Bastian Still (University College London)
“Wife-givers and Wife-takers: Marriage networks in Babylonia”

A small Greek world, by Irad Malkin

Irad Malkin’s new book ‘A small Greek world: networks in the Ancient Mediterranean’ has just appeared with Oxford University Press. Looks like a fascinating read, seeing Ancient Greek history through network goggles. Now available at a reduced price as well! See the offer on the publisher’s webpage.

Here is the book’s summary:

Greek civilization and identity crystallized not when Greeks were close together but when they came to be far apart. It emerged during the Archaic period when Greeks founded coastal city states and trading stations in ever-widening horizons from the Ukraine to Spain. No center directed their diffusion: mother cities were numerous and the new settlements (“colonies”) would often engender more settlements. The “Greek center” was at sea; it was formed through back-ripple effects of cultural convergence, following the physical divergence of independent settlements. “The shores of Greece are like hems stitched onto the lands of Barbarian peoples” (Cicero). Overall, and regardless of distance, settlement practices became Greek in the making and Greek communities far more resembled each other than any of their particular neighbors like the Etruscans, Iberians, Scythians, or Libyans. The contrast between “center and periphery” hardly mattered (all was peri-, “around,” nor was a bi-polar contrast with Barbarians of much significance.

Should we admire the Greeks for having created their civilization in spite of the enormous distances and discontinuous territories separating their independent communities? Or did the salient aspects of their civilization form and crystallize because of its architecture as a de-centralized network? This book claims that the answer lies in network attributes shaping a “Small Greek World,” where separation is measured by degrees of contact rather than by physical dimensions.

Workshop historical network research in Saarbrücken

From 26 to 28 May a workshop on historical networks will be held at the Universität des Saarlandes, organised by the people of the ‘Historical network research’ platform. The scope seems pretty wide, covering theoretical papers, geographical networks, software and social, cultural, political and trade networks in historical case-studies. Although there are no explicit archaeological applications, these papers should be extremely relevant to what we are doing as archaeological network analysts.

Read the full list of papers in this programme.

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