13th Historical Network Research workshop

Where? Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz
When? 27.-28.05.2019

If you want to attend this workshop, send the information mentioned below to contact-nats@protonmail.com before 28 February.

Networks Across Time and Space

Methodological Challenges and Theoretical Concerns of Network Research in the Humanities

From the trade networks of the bronze age to the kinship ties of medieval ruling houses, from the exchange of scientific knowledge through letters to the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, people throughout the ages have been acutely aware of how their integration or exclusion from networks could impact their lives. Yet only with the invention of digital tools has it become possible to reconstruct, visualize, and analyse these relational structures on an unprecedented scale. They have transformed the way we think about groups and societies, space and culture. Not only economists, political scientists or researchers in literary and cultural studies but also historians and archaeologists have adopted the concept of “networks” to study certain forms of information as part of a broader whole. Rather than looking at data in isolation, the focus is shifting to the links that unite different entities, and to the structures that emerge from their connections. Especially for archaeologists and historians, who are often dealing with large amounts of data that stand in a complex relation to each other – be it objects, sites or people – network theory and formal network analysis can be very powerful tools for study.

Particular constraints, however, surround the use of network-theoretic methods in the historical sciences. The analysis usually deals with fragmentary datasets, examines data of different types (sites, objects, landscapes, institutions), or unites data from different regions or periods of time within one study. Finding a common denominator that unites disparate and sometimes problematic datasets within one network that sustains a valid historical hypothesis can be a challenge. It is not always clear which analytical tools, e.g., different centrality measures, can be applied to gain a deeper understanding of a dataset and what exactly their use implies for the conceptional framework of the research in question. To which kind of historical questions can we find answers through a formal network analysis? Is a more fluid approach dealing with metaphorical networks more useful? Which new perspectives on existing data can network research open up to different disciplines?

In order to provide prospective and more advanced network scholars and students in the historical sciences with a sound background and solid arguments for structuring a network-related hypothesis, a two-day workshop is organized to:

• provide basic training (day 1)

• provide in-depth discussion on the application of network theory for specific datasets and research questions (day 2)

The first day of the workshop aims at novices and prospective students in network analysis in the historical sciences and archaeology (no previous knowledge required). Participants can bring own research ideas to the workshop to receive feedback, but this is not obligatory.

The second day of the workshop is devoted to in-depth theoretical discussion for advanced scholars, who already have an understanding of network concepts and are applying it to their own case studies. A general discussion will conclude the exchange within small groups focusing on specific case studies and central issues in historical and archaeological network research. Students participating in the first day are welcome to attend the second day of the workshop to broaden their understanding.

There are three points of focus for discussion on the second workshop day:

1. Objects as Actors

2. Fragmentary data – fragmentary networks? Implications of source criticism for archaeological and historical network analysis

3. One theory fits them all? Critical reflections on theorizing about social networks across time and space

Participation in the workshop is free of charge; however, participants are required to provide for their accommodation and travel.

The number of available places in the workshop is limited. To be considered for participation, prospective participants should send an abstract of their project or a statement concerning their motivation of participation (about 300 words) to the workshop email address:


Submissions are due February 28th. As the aim of this workshop is to initiate a critical discourse across disciplines, we encourage all participants to contact us if you would like to propose further topics for discussion on the second workshop day.



Digital history fellowships in Luxembourg

The following opportunity for a research visit in Luxembourg sounds like a great opportunity. The University of Luxembourg has a huge new research group specialised in Digital History, making it an inspiring place with lots of opportunities.

Via the HNR list and Marten Düring:

C²DH offers several fellowships for visiting researchers: for PhD candidates, Post-Docs and Senior Researchers.

By Marten Düring on Dec 18, 2018 08:56 am

This might be of interest for people on this list as well, C2DH is a truly exciting and pleasant place to work. Feel free to contact me for more info,
The Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) is the University of Luxembourg’s third interdisciplinary research centre, focusing on high-quality research, analysis and public dissemination in the field of contemporary history. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach with a particular focus on new digital methods and tools for historical research and teaching.To promote international exchanges and collaborations in the field of contemporary and digital history, the C²DH offers several fellowships for visiting researchers: for PhD candidates, Post-Docs and Senior Researchers. Applicants are expected to pursue their own research. However applicants whose interests relate to the research priorities of the C²DH will be preferred. Fellowship holders will be assigned to a research department and asked to present their current project in a seminar or colloquium.

The fellowships carry a monthly grant between 1500 € and 3000 € (depending on whether the applicant benefits from other institutional funding or not) and should ideally have a duration of 3 months. The funding is supposed to cover all expenses including travel, housing, and insurance. Fellows are expected to reside in Luxembourg or the Greater Region. The C²DH will provide office space and other relevant facilities.

The application deadline is 1 February 2019. Decisions will be announced not later than end of February 2019. Applications can be in English, German or French and must include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and a project proposal not exceeding 1500 words.


CFP 5th conference Réseaux et Histoire

I can definitely recommend submitting an abstract for the below conference!

Appel à communications pour la Cinquième rencontre du groupe Res-Hist (Réseaux & Histoire) « La personne en question dans les réseaux »
Rennes, 17-18 octobre 2019

Créé en 2013, le groupe Res-Hist est un collectif destiné à favoriser les échanges scientifiques des historien·ne·s travaillant sur les réseaux. Il organise des rencontres qui réunissent, autour d’une thématique donnée, les chercheur·se·s qui mettent en œuvre des analyses de réseaux dans leurs travaux, quels que soient les périodes étudiées, les objets d’analyse, l’état d’avancement des travaux ou le niveau d’études. Les précédentes rencontres à Nice (en 2013 puis en 2016), Toulouse (2014) et Paris (2015) ont permis à des spécialistes venus de différents horizons de se rencontrer et d’échanger, à la fois en termes épistémologiques, méthodologiques et techniques.
Dans le sillage de ces premières manifestations, nous organisons une cinquième rencontre du groupe Res-Hist les 17 et 18 octobre 2019 à l’Université Rennes 2, en partenariat avec la MSHB et l’URFIST, trois institutions qui valorisent les recherches sur les humanités numériques. Notre initiative est également soutenue par le GDR Analyse de réseaux en Sciences humaines et sociales. Nous proposons que les contributeurs et contributrices de ces journées discutent une thématique précise : « La personne en question dans les réseaux ». Les travaux historiques qui mobilisent les techniques spécifiques d’analyse de réseaux envisagent en effet souvent dans leurs analyses des « personnes ». Dans la majorité de ces travaux, ces personnes – comprises comme des individus – interviennent en tant qu’entités (réseaux de correspondance, d’intellectuels et de savants, de marchands, d’évêques, de nobles ou de paysans, réseaux égocentrés), une démarche aujourd’hui intuitivement compréhensible par référence aux réseaux sociaux numériques (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
Depuis quelques années toutefois, certains types de recherche s’interrogent davantage sur l’usage historique que l’on peut faire des « personnes ». Depuis les travaux précurseurs de John Padgett sur les Médicis, plusieurs historien·ne·s diluent ou dépassent en effet ces personnes, en focalisant leur analyse sur des entités-groupes (familiaux, religieux, économiques, associatifs) : les individus sont ainsi réduits à  représenter une entité plus globale, que certain.e.s sociologues qualifient de « cercles sociaux ou collectifs » qui dépassent les relations interpersonnelles qui le forment. Dans une perspective prosopographique, d’autres chercheur.se.s travaillent moins sur des « personnes » que sur des réseaux de « noms », de « titres » ou d’« attributs » qui renvoient certes parfois à des individus précis, mais qui ne peuvent être identifiés qu’en passant par les occurrences, c’est-à-dire par des réseaux de mots. Dans certains de ces travaux, consacrés à des sociétés polythéistes, les noms ne renvoient d’ailleurs pas toujours à des individus, mais à des puissances divines formant un système que le réseau permet d’analyser (réseaux de dieux et déesses scandinaves ou réseaux d’épithètes divines largement répandues dans le monde antique). Dans d’autres études, qui portent sur les situations de clandestinité à la période contemporaine, on peut s’interroger sur la manière adéquate d’associer ou de distinguer l’individu et son nom de couverture pour rendre compte au mieux des liens sociaux vécus ou supposés par les autorités. Enfin, dans certains travaux plus spatialisés, les personnes ne sont plus des entités, mais interviennent en tant que liens, par exemple dans les flux entre deux lieux (flux d’intellectuels, de marchands ou d’ambassadeurs).
Nous souhaiterions que les intervenant.e.s s’interrogent ainsi sur l’usage qu’ils/elles font des « personnes » dans les réseaux qu’ils/elles reconstituent et analysent. Quelle place leur réservent-ils/elles, en tant qu’entités ou liens ? L’analyse se situe-t-elle au niveau de la personne/individu, la dépasse-t-elle parfois pour s’intéresser plutôt à des « cercles sociaux » ? Qu’est-ce qui justifie de choisir un autre niveau d’analyse : en quoi est-ce un gain et/ou une perte d’informations ? Comment mettre en œuvre concrètement – c’est-à-dire d’un point de vue méthodologique et pratique, grâce à certains outils – la prise en compte d’entités-personnes et d’entités-cercles sociaux ? Dans les enquêtes prosopographiques ou dans les études des relations de parenté à partir des noms (A, fils de B), quels sont les arguments qui autorisent à passer des occurrences à l’individu sur le plan méthodologique ? Quand on traite les sources enfin, comment tenir compte des identités personnelles duales, associant un nom de naissance et un nom choisi au cours de la vie – que l’on songe aux changements de noms des candidats à la cléricature dans le christianisme, aux résistant.e.s souvent évoqué.e.s à travers un pseudonyme, ou encore aux personnes contraintes à changer d’identité pour échapper à la mort ?
Ce sont ces interrogations, et sans doute beaucoup d’autres, que soulève le thème de « la personne en question dans les réseaux ». Il s’agit en effet par là de poser plus largement le problème de l’accès à l’individu à travers des sources distinctes et des époques diverses, en valorisant les réponses que l’analyse de réseaux et les approches quantitatives peuvent y apporter. En définitive, le thème soulève la question fondamentale de la manière dont on pense, à travers un réseau, certaines catégories, qu’elles soient sociales, économiques, juridiques, onomastiques, familiales, etc., en articulation avec les types documentaires auxquels on est confronté.e.

Nous invitons donc les chercheur.se.s qui mettent à profit la notion de réseaux dans leurs recherches à participer à ces rencontres. À côté de l’objet de l’étude et des résultats obtenus, il s’agit de placer au cœur de la réflexion la manière dont ils/elles traitent les personnes dans leurs analyses (en tant qu’entités – globales ou pas –, en tant que liens, etc.,). Les propositions d’intervenant.e.s des précédentes rencontres Res-Hist tout comme celles de chercheur.se.s qui n’y ont pas assisté sont les bienvenues.
Selon la formule consacrée lors des précédentes journées Res-Hist, les intervenants fourniront un texte (déjà publié ou non) qui sera mis en ligne à l’avance et présenteront leurs propos oralement en 20 minutes maximum, qui seront suivies par 30 minutes de débat et d’échange avec la salle. Des présentations par des invité.e.s et des ateliers de formation à l’analyse de réseaux et à ses logiciels seront également proposés avant les rencontres.
Les propositions de communication, d’une longueur d’une page et accompagnées des nom, statut et adresse mail, devront être adressées avant le 31 mars 2019 par courriel à Karine Karila-Cohen (karine.karila-cohen@univ-rennes2.fr) et à Isabelle Rosé (rosisa@wanadoo.fr). Le résultat de la sélection sera communiqué à la fin du mois de mai 2019, après examen par le conseil scientifique. Les textes présentés seront fournis avant le 1er  septembre 2019. L’organisation prendra en charge une à deux nuitées, dans certains cas, et la plupart des repas au cours de la rencontre. Les frais de transport sont à la charge des intervenant.e.s ou de leur laboratoire.
Cette initiative est possible grâce au soutien du LAHM-CReAAH (Université Rennes 2 / UMR 6566), de Tempora (Université Rennes 2), de l’UFR Sciences sociales et l’Université Rennes 2, de l’URFIST, de la MSHB et du GDR CNRS Analyse de réseaux en SHS.

Comité scientifique
L. Beauguitte (CNRS-GDR Analyse de réseaux en SHS)
P.-Y. Beaurepaire (Université Côte d’Azur, CMMC)
M. Gasperoni (CNRS-Centre Roland Mousnier)
J. M. Imízcoz (Universidad del País Vasco)
K. Karila-Cohen (Université Rennes 2, Lahm-CReAAH, UMR 6566)
C. Lemercier (CNRS-Sciences Po Paris)
S. Marzagalli (Université Côte d’Azur, CMMC)
I. Rosé (Université Rennes 2, Tempora)
L. Van Hoof (Université de Gand)

Comité d’organisation
Karine Karila-Cohen, Université Rennes 2, LAHM-CReAAH (UMR 6566)
Isabelle Rosé, Université Rennes 2, Tempora (EA 7468)
Audrey Colloc, Université Rennes 2, Gestion/secrétariat de Tempora (EA 7468)
Alison Tribodet, Université Rennes 2, secrétariat de la cellule recherche pour le LAHM (UMR 6566)

Second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research

The Journal of Historical Network Research is a young but important element of our growing community of network researchers. Its second issue is now out with some excellent papers. I strongly recommend archaeologists and historians alike to consider this publication venue for their work. Importantly, it is completely open access without paying a fee! And from personal experience I know that the editorial and review process are very professional. Go JHNR! 🙂

We are happy to announce the second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research:

Searching for hidden bridges in co-occurrence networks from Javanese wayang kulit
Andrew Johnathan Schauf, Miguel Escobar Varela

Family network of emerging Jewish intelligentsia (Cracow 1850-1918)
Marek Jerzy Minakowski

Artist migration through the biographer’s lens
Maximilian Kaiser, Katalin Lejtovicz, Matthias Schlögl, Peter Alexander Rumpolt

Netzwerke des Wissens – Thematische und personelle Relationen innerhalb der halleschen Zeitungen und Zeitschriften der Aufklärungsepoche (1688-1818)
Anne Purschwitz

Geospatial Social Networks of East German Opposition (1975-1989/90)
Kimmo Elo

Networks and the study of religions CFP

The below call for papers will be of interest to readers of this blog. Please note that the deadline is 15 December!

CfP “Network Analysis, Computational Modelling and Simulation in the Study of Religions”

via David Zbíral:

Dear colleagues,

at the EASR 2019 conference, to be held in Tartu, Estonia, 25-29 June 2019 (see https://easr2019.org/), Aleš Chalupa and myself organize an open panel entitled “Network Analysis, Computational Modelling and Simulation in the Study of Religions”, which focuses on demonstrating the potential of these methods and discussing them. In continuation with having hosted, in September 2018, the annual conference on “Historical Network Research” (http://historicalnetworkresearch.org/) at the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Brno, we want to help developing these approaches within the European study of religions.

We welcome proposals for papers discussing any historical period and geographical area. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

* Modelling of the social dynamics of religious groups and interactions between religious communities

* Modelling of the spread of religious traditions on networks (transportation, commercial, social, ethnic etc.)

* Agent-based modelling of the transmission of different types of ritual in a diachronic perspective

* Extraction of networks from texts, computer-assisted text mining

* Social network analysis of actors in specific historical events important for the history of religions

* Usability of conceptual and methodological frameworks of complex adaptive system science towards the study of religions

* Inter- and transdisciplinarity in the study of religions concerning computational methods

* Preparing “computational data”; tools and methods for creating and managing datasets and databases aiding research into religions

* Comparison of close and distant reading in the study of religions

We are looking forward to receiving your paper proposals! The submission should be made through the online registration at the official website of the conference as a submission of an individual paper, where you choose “Network Analysis, Computational Modelling and Simulation in the Study of Religions” as the panel in which you propose the paper. General information about the submission of individual papers can be found here: https://easr2019.org/call-for-individual-papers/ . The submission deadline is 15 December 2018. Review results will be announced on 15 January 2019. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words long. If you have any queries concerning the panel, please get in touch with me at david.zbiral@post.cz .

Thanks for considering our panel and/or forwarding it to those who could be interested in participating, and hopefully see many of you in Tartu in June 2019!

With all best wishes,

David Zbíral.

The Connected Past Oxford: in numbers

Next week we will host the next edition of The Connected Past conference, this time in Oxford. The response to the conference has been overwhelming. 65 abstracts were received but only 30 could be accepted if we wanted to avoid parallel sessions. With 117 expected delegates this will be the largest event in the series. We are expecting colleagues from 17 countries and 66 institutions. Interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly, the gender split among delegates is almost 50/50 but only 32% of named authors of papers are female. This proportion is luckily increasing over the years but it’s clearly something for our community to work on.

Have a look at the infographic below. Can you spot how much wine each delegate will receive? I think it will be sufficient 🙂


FORVM board game available now!

Don’t know what to buy family and friends for Christmas? Get our board game! The perfect combo of awesome ancient history empire building and new academic perspectives. It makes you think AND happy at the same time, imagine that!

Buy FORVM: TRADE EMPIRES OF ROME on the online store.

fig1 copyIf you order now the game should arrive on time for Christmas (see unboxing video below for contents). No profits are made on the game. A note on shipping: our online shop is based in the US and international shipping is expensive. However, up to 5 games fit into a single shipping box, so we recommend you combine your orders to split the shipping costs. For international purchases we also recommend you select priority shipping, because it will allow you to track your package in the likely case customs apply in the delivery country.

boardThis is a board game by archaeologists for everyone. It was made by Iza Romanowska, Shawn Graham and myself. We wanted to do a fun public outreach activity that highlights key aspects of our research: how can we simulate the Roman economy? We find that simulation is very much like playing a board game. The only difference being that a simulation is played by a computer hundreds or thousands of times rather than by you and your family fighting over the rules during the Christmas break. The disagreements and discussions that arise over playing a board game we actually find very similar to the process we go through when making a computer simulation. Why is this rule the way it is? Is it really the best representation of the Roman world? Why don’t we change it and see what happens? This is why we thoughts a board game is the ideal format to share this part of our research.

Mod your game and let us know what you think! Disagree with us, simulate your own Roman economy, publish your findings!

Job: Full-time developer/database manager Tucson

This permanent job will be of interest to members of this list. You will be part of a great project pioneering new computational methods in archaeology, applied to US southwest archaeological research questions:
The cyberSW project is looking to hire a full-time developer/database manager to work on both current NSF supported research project and future projects/data development. The position will be through Archaeology Southwest in Tucson and, though this is tied to the current NSF RIDIR grant, will continue as a regular full-time position after that grant ends in 2020. Please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested.

Funding for network analysis and art history project workshops

A new call for projects on network analysis and art history, to receive funding to prepare two week-long meetings in summer 2019 and 2020, and monthly virtual meetings. Funding will be provided for successful teams. Apply before 15 October!

Call for Participation

Workshop Schedule
One-week convening, July 29–August 2, 2019
Monthly virtual convenings, Fall–Spring 2019–2020
Two-week convening, June 22–July 3, 2020

The NA+DAH Workshop is a Getty Foundation-supported event that will bring together art historians, network scientists, and digital humanists to advance research at the intersection of these fields.

Directed by Alison Langmead (University of Pittsburgh), Anne Helmreich (Texas Christian University), and Scott B. Weingart (Carnegie Mellon University)—all scholars engaged with digital art history and network analysis—the Network Analysis + Digital Art History Workshop will unfold over a full year and will be framed by two face-to-face convenings held at the University of Pittsburgh, a schedule that will allow participants to learn advanced digital methods and project management skills while fostering a close-knit interdisciplinary community. By the end of the Workshop, participants will have the expertise and support structure needed to conduct sophisticated research and build advanced projects at the intersection of network analysis and art history.

The NA+DAH workshop will welcome up to eight project teams (representing art historical, technical, and analytic expertise) for a series of in-person and video convenings, with the expectation that teams will also be working and collaborating outside the convening framework to develop and advance their research projects. It is expected that this Getty Advanced Topics in Digital Art History Workshop will lead to a significant body of research and we anticipate a potential edited volume or online repository to share its results.

Event Descriptions
Convening 1: The week-long “Digital Art History + Network Science Institute” will take place from Monday, July 29–Friday, August 2, 2019. During this Institute, participating teams will engage with the grand challenges in digital art history and network analysis, and propose and structure a year-long research agenda (guided by expert facilitators) that uses network analysis to advance art historical inquiry. Potential research topics include museum provenance, exhibition histories, stylistic similarities, and the history of the art market. Teams should begin working on their data and approaches in advance of the event, as the convening will focus on aligning data with project research agendas. Up to three members per team will be supported to attend this convening.

Between Summer 2019 and Summer 2020, the teams will continue to advance their research agendas. Each project team will participate in monthly meetings, convened virtually, to check in on progress and identify further resources as needed. These virtual meetings and related support will be facilitated by a research assistant and augmented by the expertise of the leadership team.

Convening 2: The two-week-long “Co-Working Institute in Art History + Network Science” will take place from Monday June 22–Friday, July 3, 2020. This event will include a rigorous daily agenda consisting of continued training opportunities focused on the exact needs of the teams and current problems in the field, ample project work time, and daily keynote lectures by interdisciplinary experts that offer a larger, field-wide picture. Up to four members per team will be supported to attend this convening.

To Apply
We encourage scholars to apply who are either already engaged in digital art history and wish to work with network analytic approaches in more depth, or who are engaged in network science and seek to understand better how their expertise might be applied to art historical problems. Early, mid, and later-career academic scholars are all welcome to apply, as are teams that include art museum professionals, librarians, advanced graduate students, and others. Teams of at least three that are already formed will receive priority consideration, particularly those demonstrating a pre-existing breadth of technical and art historical expertise. Individual scholars with a project in mind, but who are not yet affiliated with a team, are encouraged to contact the workshop organizers (na-dah@pitt.edu) early to seek assistance in finding potential collaborators with whom they can apply.

Members of the project teams (up to three participants for the 2019 Institute and four for the 2020 Co-Working Institute) will receive funding for travel to Pittsburgh, lodging, and a per diem rate for food. Additional team members may attend if self-funded.

To apply, send a 500-word project proposal, including a statement of the goals for the project, with citations as appropriate (word count is exclusive of citations), as well as a brief description of the project team (no more than 300 words per person), their expertise(s), and a CV for each team member (including links to relevant previous or current digital projects) to na-dah@pitt.edu. Applications are due October 15, 2018 and should be sent in PDF format only.

Once all the applications are reviewed, those teams advancing for final consideration will be interviewed over video conferencing between November 5–16, 2018. Acceptances will be sent by December 14, 2018.

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