Historical network research conference: registration and program

The fourth HNR conference will take place in Turku, Finland, from 17 to 20 October 2017. Registration is open now and it’s FREE! Have a look at the programme here: plenty of interesting papers and a number of really useful workshops. I really like this conference series because of its friendly and exciting atmosphere, so I will definitely recommend you to attend if you can.

We are pleased to announce that the registration to the “4th Historical Network Research Conference” is now OPEN. Please go to the following page and proceed according the guidelines:


Please note: there is no conference fee, but if you want to participate in the conference dinner on 19 October 2017 it will cost 50,00 euro. In this case you will be forwarded to the online payment portal.

The preliminary programme is also published and online:


We will update the programme with information on seminar rooms within the next couple of weeks.

Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an e-mail to: hnr2017@utu.fi.

We look forward to seeing you in Turku in October.

Best regards,

Members of the organising committee

The Connected Past: register now!

cropped-cropped-logo_website_heading23.pngRegistration is open for ‘The Connected Past 2017: The future of past networks?’.

More information on the conference website: http://connectedpast.net/

What? a multi-disciplinary conference on network research for the study of the human past

When? 24-25 August 2017

Where? Bournemouth, UK

Registration price: £35

Full Programme: http://connectedpast.net/other-events/bournemouth-2017/conference-programme/

Registration link: http://connectedpast.net/other-events/bournemouth-2017/registration/

Everyone is welcome to join discussions on a wide range of topics in a friendly and constructive atmosphere.

Overarching methodological topics to be addressed include:

  • networks of individuals
  • temporal change in networks
  • networks and geographical space
  • categorisation
  • material similarity
  • research design
  • transport networks

Individual papers will cover a wide range of topics in archaeology, history, classics, physics, geography and computer science:

  • medieval witness networks
  • papyri networks
  • networks of medieval heresy
  • machine time
  • the world bank in Colombia
  • urban networks
  • ideology
  • cityscape movement
  • movement along the Roman frontiers
  • neolithisation
  • Iron Age elites
  • Neolithic material networks
  • ceramics and political economies
  • agent-based modelling
  • protohistoric transportation networks
  • Greco-Roman festivals
  • shipwrecks and maritime networks

We look forward to welcoming you in Bournemouth!

Archaeology and history at the EU SNA conference

There’s a huge surge in archaeological and historical networks papers presented at the main networks conferences. This is a trend that has been going strong for a few years now. This year’s EU social network analysis conference will feature no less than three sessions on the topic! Virtually a satellite conference in its own right, the sessions cover a huge chronological and methodological range. I strongly recommend attending the conference to see these papers. But also because I always find it hugely inspiring myself to attend these inter-disciplinary conferences. You never know which paper is going to trigger new exciting ideas: Vietnamese trade networks in the late 20th century? Networks of gameboy musicians? That paper with all the scary maths in it? I always find 90% of the papers I see totally uninteresting or incomprehensible, but there’s always one that fundamentally changes my direction of research and that I refer back to for years afterwards.

What? EUSNA conference

Where? Mainz, Germany

When? 26-29 September 2017

Here’s the announcement of the archaeological and historical programme, via the HNR list:

This year’s European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN2017) comes with 3 sessions on network analysis in Archaeology and History, for details see the full programme here:


See an overview below:

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.1)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)

Martin Stark
Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)

09:05 am
A formal network approach to ancient Mediterranean urbanisation process
Lieve Donnellan | VU University Amsterdam | Netherlands

09:25 am
Agent Based Modeling and Archeological Networks – Refining the Material Based Approach
Lennart Linde | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main | Germany

09:45 am
Modeling innovation spread in archaeological networks
Natasa Conrad | Zuse Institute Berlin | Germany

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.2)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)

Martin Stark

The social dimension of credit relations: an application of SNA to an early modern merchant firm
Cinzia Lorandini | University of Trento | Italy

Mass genealogy: Top 1% of 19-th century Polish society as a single family network (PageRank-like analysis)
Marek Jerzy Minakowski | Dr Minakowski Publikacje Elektroniczne | Poland

Embeddedness of Periodicals in Illustrated Fashion Press in the Nineteenth Century
Julie Birkholz | Ghent University | Belgium

The Network of zemstvo’ deputies in the Perm province in the second half of the 19th century: Dynamics and features of the formation
Nadezhda Povroznik | Perm State National Research University | Russian Federation

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.3)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Martin Stark

Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)

01:35 pm
: ‘O Rus! Elite networks and gentry politics in pre-revolutionary Russia: The blacksoil nobles, 1861-1905’
George Regkoukos | King’s College London | United Kingdom

01:55 pm
Hidden Archives and Lavish Libraries: Promises of Social Network Analysis for Research on Twentieth-Century China
Henrike Rudolph | Germany

02:15 pm
Building a Scientific Field in the Post-World War II Era: A Network Analysis of the Renaissance of General Relativity
Roberto Lalli | Max Planck Institute for the History of Science | Germany
Dirk Wintergrün | Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

02:35 pm
The elephant in the room of political parties: how patronage networks influenced leadership. A historical approach
Isabelle Borucki | University of Trier | Germany

Historical networks session at Sunbelt

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

CFP: archaeology-history session at EU SNA conference in Paris.

eusnaIt’s with great pleasure that we can announce the first ever conference session which is organized by the Res-Hist, The Connected Past and the Historical Network Research group:

Historical and Archaeological Network Research

Submission deadline 16 February 2016.

Submissions via the conference website.

Network analysis, be it inspired by sociology or physics, is making its way in historical and archaeological research on all periods and topics. Over the last decades, a substantial number of studies has shown that both network theories and network methods derived from other disciplines can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies of historical and archaeological data and go beyond the metaphorical use of network-related metaphors. However, most of this work has paid little attention to the specific challenges skills of historical and archaeological research, e.g. concerns with sources, missing data, data standardization, as well as the situation of networks in time and space.

In recent years, a burgeoning community of historians and archaeologists have taken on these challenges and begun to adapt and develop formal network techniques to address the substantive questions and challenges key to their disciplines. This has been made possible thanks to collaboration and interaction with scholars from other disciplines.

The aim of this session is to further develop this community by promoting contacts between the various disciplines that aim at making sense of past phenomena through methods derived from network analysis; and between the various geographic and language-based communities in Europe.

We welcome papers on any period, geographical area, and substantive topic, using any network research method. The authors may by historians, archaeologists, as well as scholars from other disciplines. 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 (i.e. as ties between nodes), what the added value of such a view is, and what methodological choices it implies.

Paper which address questions related to time or space in networks are encouraged but not a requirement.

This call for papers is jointly issued by The Connected Past, Historical Network Research, and Res-Hist – but feel free to submit if you don’t know any of these groups! It will be an opportunity to meet them.

The working language for the conference will be English, but the organizers will be happy to help those who do not feel confident with their English during the discussions. Please note that the oral presentation will be short (ca. 15 minutes, as there will be at least 4 papers per 2-hour time slot, and we want to keep some time for discussion). The papers are not intended to be published together. Feel free to present either work in progress, so as to receive useful suggestions, or work that has already been published, but not in English or not widely circulated: the EUSN will allow a wider audience to discover your research.

The proposals will be selected by: Tom Brughmans (University of Konstanz); Marten Düring (CVCE, Luxembourg); Pierre Gervais (University Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Paris); Claire Lemercier (CNRS, Sciences Po, Paris).
Proposals can be submitted via the conference website.

CFP 10th Historical Network Research workshop

Via the Historical Network Research mailing list. The main language of the meeting is in German but English presentations are welcome.

Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt / Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften, Lehrstuhl für Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit:

Florian Kerschbaumer / Dr. Tobias Winnerling

28.04.2016-30.04.2016, Düsseldorf, Haus der Universität

Deadline: 25.11.2015

Call for Papers

Fakten verknüpfen, Erkenntnisse schaffen? Historische Netzwerkforschung in Wissens- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte

Wissenschaft lebt von der Vernetzung. Das Klischee des einsamen Denkers, der isoliert von der Umwelt in seiner Experimentierstube arbeitet, trifft in den seltensten Fällen zu. Wissenschaftliche Erkenntnis entstand in der Regel im Austausch zwischen Wissenschaftlern, im Dialog oder im Streit. Auch der Aspekt der Konkurrenz unter Wissenschaftlern um eine Erkenntnis spielt in diesem Kontext eine Rolle. Kurzum, Wissenschaftler arbeiten in Netzwerken.

Zur Analyse dieser Netzwerke liegt es nahe, sich auf die in den vergangenen Jahren zunehmend populär gewordene Methode der historischen Netzwerkforschung zu beziehen. Lässt sich das Phänomen der Wissenschaft netzwerkanalytisch fassen oder eingrenzen? Wie kann die Komplexität historischer Interaktionen und Akteure im wissenschaftlichen Feld angemessen einbezogen werden? Wie können Konzepte visualisiert und analysiert werden, die sich über die Ebene reiner Personenbeziehungen hinauswagen und als 2-mode, 3-mode … n-mode-Netzwerke angelegt sind? Gerade in der Wissenschaftsgeschichte genügen einfach Person-zu-Person-Netzwerke nicht; es müssen Fragen des Verhältnisses dynamischer (Personen, Institutionen) und statischer Entitäten (Orte, Objekte), individueller (Personen) und kollektiver Akteure (Institutionen, Verbände, Parteien, Gruppen), von Akteuren und Ereignissen (Kongresse, Feste, Begräbnisse), von Produzenten, Produkten und Produktionsstätten (etwa Autor – Verlag – Buch – Ort) und der Wechselwirkungen zwischen all diesen geklärt werden. All diese Möglichkeiten der Konstruktion sinnstiftender Zusammenhänge treffen in der Wissenschaftsgeschichte aufeinander – vielleicht noch mehr.

Daraus ergibt sich die Frage nach den Strukturen, Prozessen und Inhalten der Netzwerke und ihrem Wandel:

Strukturen: Gibt es spezifische Unterschiede zu anderen (nicht-wissenschaftlichen) Netzwerken? Wer waren die Träger der wissenschaftlichen Netzwerke? Welche Rolle spielten Einzelpersönlichkeiten, welche Rolle spielten Institutionen (Vereine, Universitäten, Wissenschaftsorganisationen)?

Prozesse: Wie entstehen wissenschaftliche Netzwerke, wie werden sie erhalten und warum verschwinden sie irgendwann?

Inhalte: Wie hängen wissenschaftliche Erkenntnis und Netzwerke zusammen? Gibt es Unterschiede zwischen den Disziplinen der Wissenschaft?

Der Workshop ist die 10. Veranstaltung der Reihe „Historische Netzwerkforschung“, die bereits seit 2009 ForscherInnen aus allen Bereichen eine Plattform zum Austausch über neue Projekte, Entwicklungen und Techniken im Kontext der Historischen Netzwerkforschung bietet.

Eingesandt werden können daher – ganz im Sinne der Tradition der Veranstaltungsreihe – Vorschläge für Vorträge, die sich in theoretischer und/oder praktischer Hinsicht mit den oben skizzierten Problemen befassen, aber auch zu Projekten der Historischen Netzwerkforschung, die über den hier genannten Themenschwerpunkt hinausgehen. Alle wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen und theoretischen Zugänge sind dabei gleichermaßen willkommen, kreative Herangehensweisen ausdrücklich erwünscht.

Vorschläge für mögliche Präsentationen bitten wir bis zum 25. November 2015 mittels Abstract (ca. 300 Wörter) an winnerling@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de zu senden. Wir bemühen uns um eine Finanzierung der Reise- und Übernachtungskosten, können dies jedoch zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt noch nicht garantieren.

Neben den Vorträgen wird es auch einen Einführungsworkshop in die Historische Netzwerkforschung sowie einen Workshop für Fortgeschrittene geben. Genauere Informationen hierzu werden noch zeitnah angekündigt. Für die Workshops freuen wir uns auf alle Interessierten und laden herzlich zur aktiven Teilnahme ein! Aus organisatorischen Gründen bitten wir auch hier um Voranmeldung unter  winnerling@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de.

Réseaux et Histoire: because it will do you good to network in Foreign

executive-511706_640It’s necessary to frequently remind ourselves that Academia does not just happen in English. It sounds like a silly thing to write, but having worked in the UK for a while I know it is rare to attend events that are not in English and it is common to ignore scientific communities and publications in other languages. This attitude is certainly encouraged by the Institute of Scientific Information (creators of our beloved Impact Factor) who rarely incorporate non-English language publications in their index. This is an assumption supported by some generalizing statistics: the majority of scientific publications are in English, the vast majority of citations are to publications written in English.

There is nothing wrong with one language emerging as the dominant one to facilitate academic communication. But this trend is inevitably accompanied by other language communities producing, debating, and evaluating work in English and their own language. This is necessary and facilitates non-English speakers to evaluate and contribute to international debates. Such communities enable those who are engaged in both international and national debates to cross-fertilize academic communities. Most importantly however, these will be the communities that take care of one of our most crucial duties as academics: to communicate our findings in a critical and understandable way to the general public, regardless of their language.

All of this is of course beside the point 🙂 I want to encourage everyone to attend the third French-speaking historical network science community conference. It’s a great and active community, with some genuinely nice and interesting people. This will not be a disappointment. I have engaged with this community before and came out with fresh ideas and approaches I could not have possibly gained within my English-speaking cocoon.

When? 29-31 October

Where? Paris

Information? Website

The third conference of the French-speaking group Res-Hist (réseaux et histoire – historical network analysis) will take place in Paris on the 29-31 October. The format mostly offers discussions of work in progress by historians, as well as presentations by specialists of other disciplines (geography, geomatics, sociology, law, anthropology,  computer science) who have dealt with social networks in time, or social networks reconstructed from written sources. All those among you who understand French are welcome! Extended abstracts are put online when we  receive them: feel free to comment on our website http://reshist.hypotheses.org, that also gives details on the conference program.

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.

The networks they are a-changin’: introducing ERGM for visibility networks

legosIn my madness series of posts published a few months ago I mentioned I was looking for a method to study processes of emerging intervisibilty patterns. I can finally reveal this fancy new approach to you 🙂 Here it is: introducing exponential random graph modelling (ERGM) for visibility networks. In previous posts I showed that when archaeologists formulate assumptions about how lines of sight affected past human behaviour, these assumptions imply a sequence of events rather than a static state. Therefore, a method is needed that allows one to test these assumed processes. Just analysing the structure of static visibility networks is not enough, we need a method that can tackle changing networks. ERGM does the trick! I just published a paper in Journal of Archaeological Science with Simon Keay and Graeme Earl that sets out the archaeological use of the method in detail. You can download the full paper on ScienceDirect, my Academia page or via my bibliography page. But in this blog post I prefer to explain the method with LEGOs 🙂



Social network analysts often use an archaeological analogy to explain the concept of an ERGM (e.g., Lusher and Robins 2013, p. 18). Past material remains are like static snapshots of dynamic processes in the past. Archaeologists explore the structure of these material residues to understand past dynamic processes. Such snapshots made up of archaeological traces are like static fragmentary cross-sections of a social process taken at a given moment. If one were to observe multiple cross-sections in sequence, changes in the structure of these fragmentary snapshots would become clear. This is exactly what an ERGM aims to do: to explore hypothetical processes that could give rise to observed network structure through the dynamic emergence of small network fragments or subnetworks (called configurations). These configurations can be considered the building blocks of networks; indeed, LEGO blocks offer a good analogy for explaining ERGMs. To give an example, a network’s topology can be compared to a LEGO castle boxed set, where a list of particular building blocks can be used to re-assemble a castle. But a LEGO castle boxed set does not assemble itself through a random process. Instead, a step by step guide needs to be followed, detailing how each block should be placed on top of the other in what order. By doing this we make certain assumptions about building blocks and their relationship to each other. We assume that in order to achieve structural integrity in our LEGO castle, a certain configuration of blocks needs to appear, and in order to make it look like a castle other configurations will preferentially appear creating ramparts, turrets, etc. ERGMs are similar: they are models that represent our assumptions of how certain network configurations affect each other, of how the presence of some ties will bring about the creation or the demise of others. This is where the real strength of ERGMs lies: the formulation and testing of assumptions about what a connection between a pair of nodes means and how it affects the evolution of the network, explicitly addressing the dynamic nature of our archaeological assumptions.

More formally, exponential random graph models are a family of statistical models originally developed for social networks (Anderson et al. 1999; Wasserman and Pattison 1996) that aim to scrutinize the dependence assumptions underpinning hypotheses of network formation by comparing the frequency of particular configurations in observed networks with their frequency in stochastic models.

The figure below is a simplified representation of the creation process of an ERGM. (1a) an empirically observed network is considered; (1b) in a simulation we assume that every arc between every pair of nodes can be either present or absent; (2) dependence assumptions are formulated about how ties emerge relative to each other (e.g. the importance of inter-visibility for communication); (3) configurations or network building blocks are selected that best represent the dependence assumptions (e.g. reciprocity and 2-path); (4) different types of models are created (e.g. a model without dependence assumptions (Bernoulli random graph model) and one with the previously selected configurations) and the frequency of all configurations in the graphs simulated by these models is determined; (5) the number of configurations in the graphs simulated by the models are compared with those in the observed network and interpreted.


My madness series of posts and the recently published paper introduce a case study that illustrates this method. Iron Age sites in southern Spain are often located on hilltops, terraces or at the edges of plateaux, and at some of these sites there is evidence of defensive architecture. These combinations of features may indicate that settlement locations were purposefully selected for their defendable nature and the ability to visually control the surrounding landscape, or even for their inter-visibility with other urban settlements. Yet to state that these patterns might have been intentionally created, implies a sequential creation of lines of sight aimed at allowing for inter-visibility and visual control. An ERGM was created that simulates these hypotheses. The results suggest that the intentional establishment of a signalling network is unlikely, but that the purposeful creation of visually controlling settlements is better supported.

A more elaborate archaeological discussion of this case study will be published very soon in Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, so stay tuned 🙂 Don’t hesitate to try out ERGMs for your own hypotheses, and get in touch if you are interested in this. I am really curious to see other archaeological applications of this method.

References mentioned:

Anderson, C. J., Wasserman, S., & Crouch, B. (1999). A p* primer: logit models for social networks. Social Networks, 21(1), 37–66. doi:10.1016/S0378-8733(98)00012-4

Lusher, D., Koskinen, J., & Robins, G. (2013). Exponential Random Graph Models for Social Networks. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.

Lusher, D., & Robins, G. (2013). Formation of social network structure. In D. Lusher, J. Koskinen, & G. Robins (Eds.), Exponential Random Graph Models for Social Networks (pp. 16–28). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wasserman, S., & Pattison, P. (1996). Logit models and logistic regressions for social networks: I. An introduction to Markov graphs and p*. Psychometrika, 61(3), 401–425.

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.


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.


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 Digital Classicist Berlin

dcbTime for the next edition of Digital Classicists Berlin. The previous editions have attracted some great talks, most of which are available on the seminar’s website with slides and everything. It’s a great resource. So if you want to see your work up there, go and submit something by the 1 August deadline! Submit a talk using this form.
We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the third series of the Digital Classicist Seminar Berlin [1]. This initiative, inspired by and connected to London’s Digital Classicist Work in Progress Seminar [2], is organised in association with the German Archaeological Institute and the Excellence Cluster TOPOI. It will run during the winter term of the academic year 2014/15.
We invite submissions on any kind of research which employs digital methods, resources or technologies in an innovative way in order to enable a better or new understanding of the ancient world. We encourage contributions not only from Classics but also from the entire field of “Altertumswissenschaften”, to include the ancient world at large, such as Egypt and the Near East.
Themes may include digital editions, natural language processing, image processing and visualisation, linked data and the semantic web, open access, spatial and network analysis, serious gaming and any other digital or quantitative methods. We welcome seminar proposals addressing the application of these methods to individual projects, and particularly contributions which show how the digital component can facilitate the crossing of disciplinary boundaries and answering new research questions. Seminar content should be of interest both to classicists, ancient historians or archaeologists, as well as to information scientists and digital humanists, with an academic research agenda relevant to at least one of these fields.
Anonymised abstracts [3] of **300-500 words max.** (bibliographic references excluded) should be uploaded by **midnight (CET) on 01 August 2014** using the special submission form [4]. Although we do accept abstracts written in English as well as in German, the presentations are expected to be delivered in English (when submitting the same proposal for consideration to multiple venues, please do let us know via the submission form). The acceptance rate for the first two seminar series was of 41% (2012/13) and 31% (2014/15).
Seminars will run **fortnightly on Tuesday evenings (18:00-19:30)** from October 2014 until February 2015 and will be hosted by the Excellence Cluster TOPOI and the German Archaeological Institute, both located in Berlin-Dahlem. The full programme, including the venue of each seminar, will be finalised and announced in September. As with the previous series, the video recordings of the presentations will be published online and we endeavour to provide accommodation for the speakers and contribute towards their travel expenses. There are plans to publish papers selected from the first three series of the seminar as a special issue of the new open access publication from TOPOI [5].
[3] The anonymised abstract should have all author names, institutions and references to the authors work removed. This may lead to some references having to be replaced by “Reference to authors’ work”. The abstract title and author names with affiliations are entered into the submission system in separate fields.

CFP Historical Network Research Conference 2014

hnrThe Historical Network Research team has been organising workshops for years. In September 2013 they hosted a great conference in Hamburg, and now it’s time for the sequel in September 2014 in Ghent. The team follows its usual recipe of hands-on workshops, keynotes and talks. The keynotes include Claire Lemercier (Paris Sciences-Po) and Emily Erikson (Yale University). I can only recommend sending in an abstract and/or attending. More info below or on the website.

Abstract submission deadline 10 May 2014

Historical Network Research Conference 2014

Ghent University, Belgium, 15-19 September.
This conference follows up the Future of Historical Network Research (HNR) Conference 2013 and aims to bring together scholars from all historical disciplines, sociologists, other social scientists, geographers and computer scientists to discuss the emerging field of historical Social Network Analysis. The concepts and methods of social network analysis in historical research are no longer merely used as metaphors but are increasingly applied in practice. With the increasing availability of both structured and unstructured digital data, we should be able to analyze complex phenomena. Historical SNA can help us to cope with the organization of this information and the reduction of complexity.
We invite papers from ancient to contemporary history, which integrate social network analysis methods and historical research methods and reflect on the added value of their methodologies. Since most historical data is unstructured, we seek innovative ways to derive, mine or prepare this kind of data (historical and literary texts, images, …) for SNA. Social scientists or computer scientists working with historical sources or longitudinal perspectives are also welcome. Topics could cover (but are not limited to) the following strands:
The spatial dimensions of networks; the role of transport in social interaction, on spatial distance and compensation by alternative proximities, and on the use of spatial analytical techniques in quantitative network analysis.
Relational approaches towards collective action; for instance transnational or global (social) movements, dynamics of contention, etc.
The history of science and knowledge circulation; including the dynamics of citation networks, policy networks, discipline formation and relational approaches towards scientific and intellectual movements
History of elites; for instance the meaning of kinship, political elites and policy networks, (trans)national elite formation, global elites, cultural elites and consumption, etc.
The role and organization of historical economic networks established by economic actors in the broadest sense, including networks of individual entrepreneurs, business elites, cities and states. We invite case studies of domestic networks, long-distance trade networks, networks created by migration, patronage networks etc.
Use and abuse of distant reading practices and the promises of ‘big data’ in literary and cultural history
Historical networks and theory: assessments of the theoretical and historiographical foundations of social network analysis in historical and sociological research: a relational turn, paradigm or a method?

Confirmed keynotes: Claire Lemercier (Sciences Po, Paris) and Emily Erikson (Yale University)

To propose a paper, panel, or poster, please email hnr2014@ugent.be by May 10, 2014. Proposals should take the form of a 250-words abstract accompanied by a short CV; in the case of complete panels, proposals should consist of an abstract and short CV for every panelist together with a short CV for the chair (if different). The conference is free for presenters. The admission fee for other participants is 35 Euro/day without dinner.

Pre-conference workshops:
A general introduction in SNA: the main concepts and the basic techniques of social network analysis
NodeXL (Marten Düring, UNC Chapel Hill)
How to prepare or extract data for a network analysis: a general introduction (Mark Depauw with Yanne Broux or Silke Van Beselaere, Leuven University)
Cleaning up messy data and a practical introduction to Named-Entity Recognition for historical research using Open Refine (Seth Van Hooland and Simon Hengchen)
Data modeling and network visualizations in Gephi (Clement Levallois, EMLYON Business School)
Social network analysis using UCINET (Bruce Cronin, University of Greenwich and Elisa Belotti, University of Manchester)
The Science of Science (Sci2) Tool (tbc)

The workshops will seek to provide as much practical skills and knowledge as possible. The fee for participation in the workshops is 75 EUR/day. We take registrations on a first come first serve basis, so if you are planning to (or thinking about) attending, it is best to register early. As from April 15 you can find more information regarding the workshops and registration details on our website (LINK). More info: hnr2014@ugent.be
Conference locations: Ghent University (workshops) and Ghent City Museum (http://www.stamgent.be/en, conference).

Provisional Programme:

Monday 15 Tuesday 16 -Workshops Wednesday 17 – Workshops Thursday 18 – Workshops Friday 19 – Workshops
– Data preparation- SNA – Node XL – Gephi 2- UCINET 2- Sci2 1 Conference Conference
– Gephi 1- UCINET 1- Open Refine / NER – Gephi 3- UCINET 3- Sci2 2 Conference Conference
Evening Registration
Public lecture reception Conference dinner

Organizing committee
Hans Blomme (Department of History, Ghent University)
Dr. Wim Broeckaert (Department of History, Ghent University)
Fien Danniau (Department of History, Ghent University)
Dr. Karen De Coene (Department of Geography, Ghent University)
Dr. Marloes Deene (Department of History, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Mark Depauw (Department of Ancient History, University of Leuven)
Dr. Thorsten Ries (Ghent Center for Digital Humanities)
Prof. dr. Seth Van Hooland (Information and Communication Science department, Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Prof. dr. Ronan Van Rossem (Department of Sociology, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Christophe Verbruggen (Department of History, Ghent University)

Scientific committee; organizing committee +
Prof. dr. Philippe De Maeyer (Department of Geography Ghent University)
Dr. Tom De Smedt (Clips, University of Antwerp)
Dr. Marten Düring (UNC Chapel Hill)
Dr. Ulrich Eumann (Center for the Documentation of National Socialism, Cologne)
Prof. dr. Claire Lemercier (SciencesPo, CNRS, Paris)
Linda Keyserlingk (Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden)
Florian Kerschbaumer (Universität Klagenfurt, Österreich)
Dr. Martin Stark (University of Hamburg)
Dr. Lieve Van Hoof (Department of History, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Raf Vanderstraeten (Department of Sociology, Ghent University)

Data Ninjas VS Spaghetti Monster

puntoThere are some new kids on the network Science playground, and you better stay friends with them because they are here to kick ass. They call themselves the Data Ninjas. Introducing: “six degrees of spaghetti monsters“, the blog by the Leuven network researchers working with the Trismegistos database. The blog currently contains some interesting resources: books, links, blogs and the like. Soon the Data Ninjas will share results of their research so keep an eye on the blog. In the meantime, no better description of the ninjas than the one they provide on the blog:

All right folks! You found us! This means one of two things: either you’re friend/family/foe and you’re curious about what we’re up to (thanks for playing, better luck next time), or you’re seriously into SNA and you’re hoping to actually find some useful stuff here. We should pause here and warn you though: we are NOT SNA guru’s, despite us being worshipped by our department colleagues. We are, first and foremost, historians, lovers of all things antique (preferably Graeco-Roman in Egypt). And proud of it! About a year ago then, we started to explore the subtle science of social network analysis. We’ve come a long way since then, but we’re basically still rookies compared to the many die-hard sociologists, mathematicians, computer wizzes and all out there. RESPECT.
So basically what we’re aiming at with this blog is to let the world know what your tax money is spent on. Actually it’s just a very narcissistic self-promotional format. Science communication and valorization are the new buzz words when it comes to fellowship and grant applications, so we doing just that here. But buried deep down we still have an altruistic streak, so we’d also like to help out other self-taught, or wannabe self-teaching SNA’ers and to provide a forum where we can exchange thoughts and “experiments” (sounds pretty sciency huh? ¯\(°_⊙)/¯). We’re planning on posting some entries on the books and courses we’ve been using to get started, as well as on the software we’ve been playing with. And we’ll obviously keep you up-to-date on our research. We hope to present some AWESOME results here soon! Of course, this blog will be very history-oriented, so not all of our posts will be equally relevant for those of you who are working in other fields. But the beauty of SNA is that its basic principles are applicable to almost all types of networks, so we hope you’ll still enjoy our musings. And don’t hesitate to leave remarks, suggestions, questions, praise, cheers, jokes, your phone number, … We solemnly swear to reply as swiftly and as best as we can.
And we’re up to no good. Obviously.

CFP seminar linguistic and literary networks

esseRecently heard about the below call for papers for a seminar on visualising historical linguistic and literary networks. Might be of interest.


Marina Dossena, Univerrsity of Bergamo, Italy, marina.dossena@unibg.it
John Corbett, University of Macau, Macao SAR, jcorbett@umac.mo

This seminar to be held as part of the 12th ESSE conference in Kosice, Slovakia (29th August to 2nd September 2014), invites participation from scholars involved in the visualisation of linguistic, literary and historical relationships. There has recently been an upsurge of interest in linguistic and literary cartographies, and in particular the use of digital media to map linguistic change, literary data and historical networks. The seminar offers an opportunity for researchers this area to showcase their work in progress, and to share good practice in the development of methodologies and software. We anticipate that the session will be of interest to those working in the areas of historical corpora, correspondence and social networks, lexicography and the digital humanities.

Abstract Submission:
We invite abstract submissions (max 200 words) for individual paper presentations by 28 February 2014 directly to the conveners (jcorbett@umac.mo and marina.dossena@unibg.it ). The following information should be included in the abstracts:

Name & Surname
Title of paper
Equipment needed (all seminar rooms will be equipped with a computer and a projector)

According to the conference guidelines, presenters will be asked to circulate reduced versions of their papers in advance of the seminar, and they will have 15 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussions.Proponents will be informed about the acceptance of their papers by 31 March 2014, and ESSE conference registration will open on 1 April 2014.Please do feel free to contact the seminar conveners in case you have any queries.

ESSE Conference information more generally is available at http://kaa.ff.upjs.sk/en/event/4/12th-esse-conference#toc-home

With best wishes

John Corbett
Professor of English,
University of Macau

Few tickets still available Connected Past Paris

TCPThe free tickets to attend The Connected Past conference in Paris on 26 April are going fast but a few of them are still available. So if you would like to attend this event then grab your ticket soon via the registration page.

The Connected Past 2014 Paris is a free one-day satellite conference to CAA 2014 that brings together historians and archaeologists to discuss common themes in network analysis. The full programme with abstracts can be found on the conference website. More info and a short programme are included below.

Hope to see many of you there!

Tom, Claire, and The Connected past steering committee

The Connected Past
A satellite conference at CAA 2014, Paris

Held Saturday April 26th 2014 in Sciences Po, rooms Albert Sorel and Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume, 75007 Paris (metro Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Rue du Bac). Building A on this map.

With the Support of Sciences Po, the DYREM research program, Médialab, the CAA committee, and the French network of historical network analysis.

Organisers: Claire Lemercier (CNRS, Sciences Po, Paris), Tom Brughmans (University of Southampton), The Connected Past steering committee.

The conference will be held immediately after the CAA conference (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology), also happening in Paris, allowing participants to easily attend both – but participants from other disciplines, especially history, are also most welcome.

The conference aims to:

  • Provide a forum for the presentation of network-based research applied to archaeological or historical questions
  • Discuss the practicalities and implications of applying network perspectives and methodologies to archaeological and historical data in particular
  • Strengthen the group of researchers interested in the potential of network approaches for archaeology and history
  • Foster cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaborative work towards integrated analytical frameworks for understanding complex networks
  • Stimulate debate about the application of network theory and analysis within archaeology and history in particular, but also more widely, and highlight the relevance of this work for the continued development of network theory in other disciplines

There are no attendance fees. Although this event is free of charge, registration is required and the number of places is limited. Registration to the event will open once the final programme is advertised in late November, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

A “The Connected Past” practical workshop, “Introduction to network analysis for archaeologists” will also be organized during CAA2014 in Paris (see the CAA programme).

All the presentations and posters have been confirmed, but the exact programme is still subject to minor changes

Saturday 26 April

9-9.45 Welcome coffee and introduction

9.45-11 First session: Mobility through networks
Eivind Heldaas Seland: Tracing trade routes as networks: From Palmyra to the Persian Gulf in the first three centuries CE
Henrik Gerding and Per Östborn: Network analyses of the diffusion of Hellenistic fired bricks
Marie Lezowski: Cohesion through mobility : the networks of relics in 17th-century Lombardy

11-11.15 Coffee break

11.15-12.30 Second session: Dynamics and cross-period comparisons
Habiba, Jan C. Athenstädt and Ulrik Brandes: Inferring Social Dynamics from Spatio-Temporal Network Data in the US Southwest
Ana Sofia Ribeiro: Resilience in times of Early Modern financial crises: the case study of Simon Ruiz network, 1553-1606
Marion Beetschen: Scientists in Swiss Committees of Experts (1910-2010): Power and Academic Disciplines Through Networks

12.30-13.45 Lunch break

13.45-15 Third session: Cross-cultural networks
Angus A. A. Mol and Floris W. M. Keehnen: Tying up Columbus: A historical and material culture study of the networks that resulted from the first European voyages into the Caribbean (AD 1492-1504)
Francisco Apellaniz: Cooperating in Complex Environments: Cross-cultural Trade, Commercial Networks and Notarial Culture in Alexandria (Egypt) : 1350-1500
Florencia Del Castillo and Joan Anton Barceló: Inferring the intensity of Social Network from radiocarbon dated Bronze Age archaeological contexts

15-15.15 Coffee break

15-15.50 Fourth session: Political interactions
Stanley Théry: Social network analysis between Tours notables and Louis XI (1461-1483)
Laurent Beauguitte: Models of historical networks: A methodological proposal

15.50-16.45 Final session, including a very short (2 minutes) oral presentation for each poster, discussion of the posters and final general discussion
Posters by:
Thibault Clérice and Anthony Glaise: Network analysis and distant reading: The Cicero’s Network
Damian Koniarek, Renata Madziara and Piotr Szymański: Towards a study of the structure of the business & science social network of the 2nd Polish Republic
Susana Marcos: Familial alliances, social links et geographical network. The example of the province of Lusitania in the Roman Empire (to be confirmed)
Stefania Merlo Perring: The ChartEx Project. Reconstructing spatial relationships from medieval charters: a collaboration between Data Mining and Historical Topography
Sébastien Plutniak: Archaeology as practical mereology: an attempt to analyze a set of ceramic refits using network analysis tools
Grégoire van Havre: Interactions and network analysis of a rock art site in Morro do Chapéu, Bahia, Brazil

16.45 Drinks and informal discussion

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

CFP What about the nodes and links?

nodes linksThe following workshop might be of interest “WHAT ABOUT THE NODES AND LINKS? Approaching Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Ottoman and German History through Network Theory”. Organised by Prof. Dr. Katja Patzel-Mattern in Heidelberg 21-22 February 2014. The deadline for papers is 31.10.2013. More info below, on the announcement page, on the event website or contact ws-netzwerk-2014@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de

Prof. Dr. Katja Patzel-Mattern (Professur für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte der Universität Heidelberg); Aysegül Argit, M.A.; Rabea Limbach, M.A.
21.02.2014-22.02.2014, Heidelberg, Historisches Seminar der Universität Heidelberg, Grabengasse 3-5, 69117 Heidelberg, Übungsraum (ÜR) I & II
Deadline: 31.10.2013

Approaching Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Ottoman and German History through Network Theory

21-22 February 2014
History Department, Heidelberg University

With presentations by:
– Prof. Dr. Adelheid von Saldern (University of Hannover)
– Prof. Dr. Christoph K. Neumann (LMU Munich, tbc)

– Prof. Dr. Katja Patzel-Mattern (Heidelberg University)
– Johannes Zimmermann, M.A. (Heidelberg University, tbc)
– Dr. Stefanie van de Kerkhof (University of Mannheim)

The workshop will explore possibilities to use network theory for the historical analysis of political, economic, and social processes. It is our goal to ‘test’ network-theoretical approaches by debating their applicability to selected research projects concerning German and Ottoman history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The workshop will host two prominent guest researchers: Prof. Dr. Adelheid von Saldern (University of Hannover) will give a lecture concentrating on the German context, whilst Prof. Dr. Christoph K. Neumann (LMU Munich,
tbc) will deal with late Ottoman history. We would like to invite historians and social scientists to deliberate the possibilities and limitations of network theory for historical research in this workshop.

In the context of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the German Confederation and the later German Reich, as well as the dominions of the Ottoman State, are particularly interesting research objects for ‘testing’ and applying network-theoretical approaches. In both the Ottoman and the German contexts, researchers find themselves dealing with territories, which were heterogeneous politically, socially, and culturally. Moreover, both political entities were experiencing a time of transition in this period. This transition was characterized by political and economic instability, which went hand in hand with the erosion of institutional arrangements as well as traditional structures.
Viewed in a larger context, such developments can be connected to the fact that both polities were confronted with globally connected ideas and developments that manifested themselves especially in the context of a European vision of ‘modernity’ conceptualized through buzz words such as nationalism, imperialism, and industrialism. What is interesting here is how agents in the Ottoman as well as in the German contexts reacted to and dealt with these notions. When compared to e.g. France as an early nation state or England as a pioneer among industrialized countries, both polities underwent their very own peculiar paths of development. It is this similarity between the Ottoman and German cases which makes a parallel examination of their histories a worthwhile endeavour. Indeed, comparative analysis of the Ottoman Empire and the German territories becomes even more appealing when considering that, despite their similarities, both historical spaces differed significantly in terms of their political and economic configurations.
Finally, an engagement with both spaces is absolutely necessary when addressing research questions which attempt to go beyond German-Ottoman ‘interdependencies'[1] in processes of state building in order to investigate potential parallels on economic and social levels. Here, it is also possible to ask if convergences between the Ottoman and German contexts were supported, or even caused, by particular structures and paths of development within each space.

These research objectives raise questions about the actors and authorities who were active in various political, economic, and social processes and also direct the researchers’ attention to different agents’ ways of interaction and cooperation. In this framework, networks as social or institutional constructions, their emergence, and their functioning become the main focus of analysis. Today, the ‘social network’ as such represents an omnipresent – not to say ‘en vogue’ – concept, which has become part of our everyday language. However, ‘social network’ also refers to a theoretical concept that has gained popularity within historical research during the last two decades.[2] Nevertheless, in order to be able to use the ‘network’ concept as an analytic tool in historical studies, it arguably becomes necessary to formulate a clear definition of the term with respect to the particular research projects. In this regard scholars not only need to delineate the notion of the ‘network’ in order to distinguish it from concepts of other social phenomena, but they also strive to find tailor made ways to operationalize and to adapt theoretical models of interest for the needs of their historical research projects. The workshop will offer an opportunity for discussing such undertakings.

We therefore invite researchers in history and the social sciences undertaking research in German and late-Ottoman history to present their projects and the theoretical and methodological concepts underlying their work. The joint discussions about the projects presented shall serve to address the functionality and utility of network theory by exemplifying models of its operationalization whilst dealing with two culturally and linguistically different spaces – each possessing their very own societal, governmental, and economic characteristics and development processes. Additionally, the workshop aims to discover possible similarities and reciprocities between the German and the Ottoman contexts as a step towards a “histoire croissée” of these two regions. Finally, the focus on these polities will create an opportunity for young scholars of Ottoman and German studies to network.

The workshop is directed primarily, but not exclusively, at doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, whom we would like to invite to discuss their research projects and their theoretical and methodological concepts in this workshop. It is possible to present projects, which deal with both Ottoman and German history, or which concentrate solely on one of the two polities. If the latter case predominates, the comparative analysis of both polities will take place in the joint discussions. The projects presented may be at an early conceptual stage.
It is crucial, however, that a theoretical and methodological approach, which may be still preliminary in character, has been formulated for each project. Presenters will receive a small allowance for their participation. The organizing team will help you find accommodation and provide directions upon request.

We invite researchers and students interested in presenting their work to send a short outline of their projects (2 pages), including a title for their presentation by

31 October 2013

to ws-netzwerk-2014@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de.

The workshop will be open to those who only wish to participate in discussion, rather than present papers of their own. We kindly request interested attendants to register via email by 31 January 2014.

Heidelberg University
History Department
Grabengasse 3-5
69117 Heidelberg
Rooms: Übungsraum (ÜR) 1 & 2

The workshop will start on 21 February 2014, at 1.30 p.m. and end on 22 February at 5 p.m. A joint dinner is planned on the evening of 21 February.

Please find further Information on

The workshop is hosted and funded by the Professorship for Economic and Social History, Prof. Dr. Katja Patzel-Mattern, at the Department of History, Heidelberg University. The organisers, Aysegül Argit, M.A. and Rabea Limbach, M.A. are doctoral students of Prof. Dr. Patzel-Mattern.
Their research projects deal with economic networks of early industrial entrepreneurs in the “Rheinkreis”, a Bavarian province on the left bank of the Rhine in the early nineteenth century (Rabea Limbach), and with communication structures as well as political and societal networks in the late Ottoman Empire (Aysegül Argit).

Prof. Dr. Katja Patzel-Mattern
z.Hd. Aysegül Argit, M.A. & Rabea Limbach, M.A.
Professur für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte Historisches Seminar der Universität Heidelberg Grabengasse 3-5
69117 Heidelberg
E-Mail: ws-netzwerk-2014@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de

Programme first French Historical Networks group

A group of French Historians recently set up Res-Hist, a project to bring together the community of french-speaking researchers working with networks in history. The programme of their first meeting is just out and it looks really impressive. Make sure you put this one in your schedule!

You will find below the program of the first meeting of the Res-Hist group, which aims at fostering discussion among French-speaking historians interested in network analysis. The group also has a blog at reshist.hypotheses.org, including texts or abstracts of the presentations for the Nice meeting.
One of the next meetings (they will be held in Paris and Toulouse in 2014-5), will include close disciplines (archaeology, geography, sociology, political science, etc.) and the other will be used to establish ties with historians from other countries/using other languages -> you’ll hear more about them in time!

Réseaux et Histoire

Premières rencontres scientifiques du groupe Res-Hist

organisées par le Centre de la Méditerranée Moderne et Contemporaine, en partenariat avec l’Institut Universitaire de France
et la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société Sud-Est


Nice, 26-28 septembre 2013

Jeudi 26 septembre 2013

De l’utilisation des réseaux en histoire : retours d’expériences

9h15 : Accueil

9h30 : Introduction par Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire et Silvia Marzagalli (CMMC, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis et Institut Universitaire de France)

9h45-10h30 : Nicolas Verdier (CNRS, Géographie-cités, Paris), Passer par les évolutions du réseau d’un réseau technique pour comprendre les évolutions de l’espace : La poste aux chevaux en France au XVIIIe siècle.

10h30-11h15 : Stéphane Frioux (UMR 5190 LARHRA, Université Lyon 2), Les réseaux de la modernité : circulation des savoirs et diffusion de l’innovation en hygiène urbaine (France, fin XIXe siècle-années 1930).

11h15-11h30 : Pause-café

11h30-12h15 : Florent Hautefeuille (Université de Toulouse II), Des sources fiscales médiévales à la reconstruction des systèmes relationnels : étude d’une communauté paysanne.

12h15-13h : Jérôme  Lamy (LabEx Structuration des Mondes Sociaux, Université de Toulouse), Les astronomes toulousains et la République des Lettres au 18e siècle : modes de communication et structure des réseaux

13h-14h15 : Pause repas

14h15-15h : Isabelle Rosé (Université Rennes II), Comment utiliser, transposer et adapter l’analyse de réseaux égocentrés aux sociétés du haut Moyen Âge? Quelques propositions de méthode autour de deux études de cas.

15h-15h45 : Andoni Artola (Université du Pays Basque), La notion de réseau dans l´étude du developpement idéologique. Le cas de l´épiscopat espagnol (1760-1839).

15h45-16h15 : Pause-café

16h15-17h00 : Pierre Gervais (Université Paris III), L’analyse de réseau en autodidacte: critique et illustration. Le cas de la base de données ANR Marprof sur la comptabilité marchande du XVIIIe siècle et de son usage.

17h00-17h45 : Vincent Gourdon (CNRS, Centre Roland Mousnier, Université Paris IV), Les témoins de mariage civil dans les villes européennes du XIXe siècle : quel intérêt pour l’analyse des réseaux familiaux et sociaux ?

17h45-18h30 : Elisa Grandi (Université Paris Diderot), Politiques locales et experts internationaux: Les réseaux de la Banque Mondiale en Colombie (1949-1970).


Vendredi 27 septembre


Atelier de doctorants et jeunes chercheurs I 

9h00-9h30 : Andurand Anthony (PLH-ERASME, Université Toulouse-Le Mirail), L’analyse des réseaux sociaux comme outil d’analyse textuelle : le cas des Propos de table de Plutarque.

9h30-10h00 : Deschanel Boris (IDHE, université Paris I), L’analyse de réseau appliquée aux trajectoires sociales des négociants dauphinois, de la Révolution à la Restauration.

10h00-10h30 : Gonzalez-Quijano Lola (LaDéHiS, EHESS), Le demi-monde : prostitution et réseaux sociaux dans le Paris du XIXe siècle.

10h30–11h00 : Pause café

11h00-11h30 : Elise Lehoux (EHESS), Entre France et Allemagne, réflexions autour du réseau de sociabilité et des traditions savantes de l’archéologue Aubin-Louis Millin.

11h30-12h30 : Alvaro Chaparro (CMMC, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), Bases de données et application de l’analyse des réseaux. L’expérience de Fichoz et de Navigocorpus

12h30-13h30 : Pause buffet

13h30-14h00 : Bertoncello Frédérique et Marie-Jeanne Ouriachi (CEPAM, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), Des lieux et des hommes : réseaux de peuplement et réseaux familiaux dans l’Antiquité.

14h00-14h30 : Smyrnelis Marie-Carmen (Institut Catholique de Paris / EHESS), Identités, réseaux, espaces en Méditerranée et en Europe au XIXe siècle. L’exemple de familles grecques.

14h30-15h00 : Pallini-Martin Agnès (EHESS, ANR ENPrESA), Réseaux commerciaux et politiques des Florentins à Lyon autour de 1500.

15h00-15h30 : Viera Rebolledo-Dhuin (CHCSC, Université Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines), Dynamiques des réseaux de crédit à Paris au XIXe siècle.

15h30-16h00 Pause-café

16h00-17h00 : Beauguitte Laurent (groupe fmr – flux, matrices, réseaux), Régionalisation politique et gouvernance mondiale : l’ONU au prisme des réseaux.

17h00-18h00 : Gasperoni Michaël (EHESS), Histoire et réseaux de parenté : concepts, outils, méthodes

Samedi 28 septembre

Atelier de doctorants et jeunes chercheurs II 

9h00-9h30 : Nabias Laurent (CHSCO, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre), Etude prosopographique et analyse des réseaux de l’ancienne noblesse francilienne de Philippe Auguste à Charles VII (1180-1430).

09h30-10h00 : Marylou Nguyen Hoang Phong (Université Paris-Est), Pouvoir et réseaux égocentrés à l’époque moderne. Présentation d’une tension conceptuelle et méthodologique.

10h00-10h30 : Pierre-Marie Delpu (Centre d’histoire du XIXe siècle, Université Paris I), Les réseaux libéraux napolitains (premier XIXe siècle) : insertion transnationale et modernisation locale.

10h30-11h00 : Vivien Faraut (CMMC, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), Les réseaux libéraux sous la Restauration.

11h00-11h20 : Pause-café

11h20-13h00 : Discussions et conclusions

Comité scientifique :

Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis – Institut Universitaire de France)

Michel Bertrand (Université de Toulouse – Institut Universitaire de France)

Claire Lemercier (CNRS-Sciences Po Paris)

Silvia Marzagalli (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis – Institut Universitaire de France)

Zacarias Moutoukias (Université Paris Diderot-Paris VII)

Programme of conference ‘The Future of Historical Network Research’

histnetThe programme of next month’s ‘The Future of Historical Network Research’ conference is out! Find it on the conference website. It is looking very good, with some big names as keynotes and discussants to kick off the event, and a long list of practical case studies over the following two days. The event is closed with some reflections network analysis in the Digital Humanities. I am sure it will be a great event.

The Future of Historical Network Research

histnetI am delighted to spread the word about a great upcoming conference: The Future of Historical Network Research. It is organised by the Historical network analysis team that have been holding regular workshops in Germany for a few years now. This is their first conference and I was told to expect an awesome keynote! The event will take place at the University of Hamburg on 13-15 September 2013. There are even a limited number of bursaries available.

Deadline of the CFP is 25 July 2013.

More info can be found on the conference website and below.

Call for Papers

The concepts and methods of social network analysis in historical research are no longer merely used as metaphors but are increasingly applied in practice. In the last decades several studies proved that formal methods derived from social network analysis can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies of historical data as well. This relational perspective on historical sources has helped historical research to gain an entirely new methodological vantage point. Historical Network Research today is a research method as well as an online and offline training framework and quickly growing research community.

We are grateful for generous support from:

NeDiMAH – Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities

ESF – European Science Foundation

CGG – Centrum for Globalisation and Governance at the University of Hamburg

When we began to apply network analysis to history, there were no suitable points of reference and hardly any previous work which successfully combined Social Network Analysis methods and source-criticism. Over the years we have developed an infrastructure for historians to engage in research on networks, to exchange ideas and to receive training.
After eight workshops on Historical Network Research at locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland it is time to look back at what has been achieved in the last years and to explore what might be next. For this first conference we therefore invite papers which integrate social network analysis methods and theories with historical research interests. Topics can cover any historical epoch and may include but are not limited to research on the topics below. Contributions from scholars in Computer Science, the Digital Humanities and related disciplines are welcome.

Collective action
Trade networks
Credit networks
Covert networks
Spatial networks
Dynamic networks
Kinship networks
Tools for the extraction of relational data from text
Network extraction from metadata
Semantic networks
Tools for data visualisation and management
Communication networks
Transnational networks

The papers will be organized as parts of the following four panels:

Section I: “Information Visualisation”
Section II: “Space and Time”
Section III: “Linked Data and Ontological Methods”
Section IV: Overlaps between Network Analysis and the Digital Humanities

The conference will include keynotes by scholars in history, computational linguistics, semantic networks and data visualisation who will discuss their vision for the future of computer-assisted historical research.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be submitted via this registration form by 25 July 2013. Notifications of paper acceptance will be sent out by 5 August.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at conference@historicalnetworkresearch.org for additional information.

Linda von Keyserlingk, Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr
Florian Kerschbaumer, University of Klagenfurt
Martin Stark, University of Hamburg
Ulrich Eumann, NS Dokumentationszentrum Köln
Marten Düring, Radboud University Nijmegen

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