CfP: GrapHNR 2023 – joint conference of the HNR community and Graphs & Networks in the Humanities, 18.–21.07.2023, Mainz

GrapHNR 2023

Graphs and Networks in the fourth dimension –
time and temporality as categories of connectedness

We are very pleased to announce the call for papers for GrapHNR 2023, a joint conference of the Historical Network Research community and Graphs & Networks in the Humanities. The conference will be hosted at the Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz and the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz, from Tuesday July 18 until Friday 21 July, 2023.

As graphs and networks have become an established tool within the Digital Humanities, a growing sophistication in the use of technologies and algorithms has been accompanied by theoretical reflections on their critical application as well as by an in-depth consideration of the specific challenges posed by research data and research topics of the Humanities to methods often adapted from the Social or Computer Sciences.

Yet, one particular challenge has often fallen to the wayside despite its obvious fundamental importance, especially for archaeological and historical research: Time, as an attribute of data, a category of analysis, and as a factor in our research processes themselves. Despite many studies paving the way for multifaceted approaches, the questions of how to deal with and how to manage temporal data adequately and in an interoperable way still lead to challenges all along the research data life cycle: Planning, collecting, processing, analysing, publishing, sharing, preserving, and re-using data are all processes that need to consider the temporal dimensions of the research subject and that each require specific steps to meet this challenge.

The ambition to include time as a genuine dimension of our research shapes a multitude of demands we must ask of our data structures and of our methods of analysis, for example

  • the challenge of dealing with incomplete or vague temporal data;
  • modelling events as a basic narrative scaffolding for temporal succession;
  • adapting algorithms of dynamic network analysis or temporal networks to cultural and historical data to focus on the structural evolution of network characteristics throughout a specific timeframe;
  • the complexities of culturally specific perceptions of time, like different calendar systems or only partially synchronised relative dating systems, and how theories like Ernst Bloch’s “simultaneity of the non-simultaneous” challenge us to closely examine our notions of evolutionist views of societies and to expand our models to include diverse models of temporalities in regard to social or cultural developments;
  • and last but not least, the more current conflicting temporalities inherent in the rapid evolution of technologies that require constant re-workings of our ways of dealing with data.

Therefore, this year’s conference lays focus on dealing with graphs and networks in the fourth dimension – how to incorporate time, temporalities, and dynamics into graph technologies and network research. We invite all those active within the global humanities community who are working with graph technologies and network research to frame their paper with regard to the conference theme

 “Graphs and Networks in the fourth dimension –
time and temporality as categories of connectedness”.

Key topics for this year’s conference may include, but are not limited to:

  • Temporalities of historical subjects
    How can we conceptualise the flow of time and how can we reconcile the complexities of the historical record with the data at hand? How can we integrate changing receptions of historical objects, throughout their “lifespan” detailed by their object biography but also over the course of our projects? How can we integrate the different temporalities of relations, e.g. of interactions and the potential for interactions?
  • Temporalities of historical data
    How do we encode time and model changing states of entities, of relations, and of structures? How can we deal with different standards and different concepts of temporalities? What standards have we developed to deal with incomplete or vague dates, missing start or endpoints? What are the consequences of these modelling decisions for the possibilities of analysis? What happens when we “petrify” or “freeze” change as persistent data? And finally, how can we visualise change and the passing of time?
  • Temporalities of research in graph and network technologies
    How can we deal with changing perspectives on data and subject matter, different temporalities of technologies, update cycles, obsolescences, or “turns” within research programs? How can we critically reflect on our data as an object of data management and analysis, and its changing nature throughout the evolution of a project? How are we handling a number of different temporalities occurring in our projects and research in general – temporalities of data, infrastructure, tools, devices, hardware and software, media, research, institutions and funding?

Presentations on related subjects are welcome as well.


We welcome three types of proposals: (1) individual papers; (2) software/tool demonstrations and (3) posters. Abstracts should clearly state the title, name and affiliation of the authors and the presenters.

1) Individual papers:

abstract (up to 750 words maximum, plus 3 citations minimum) will be required for 30-minute papers (presentation 20 min. + 10 min. for questions). The content of your abstract should be appropriate for the nature of the paper you intend to present. Your abstract should include:

  • Background – an overview of the topic and the research questions that will be addressed by your paper
  • Methods and data – an overview of the data used and the methods employed in your research
  • Findings – a description of the results of your research

You may also include a single figure that shows the key results or main argument of your paper. Figures should be submitted in a format that can be displayed in a standard web browser and should have a minimum resolution of 300 DPI.

2) Software/tool demonstrations:

The conference provides an opportunity for demonstrations of software and tools for applying graph technologies and network analysis to Humanities research. Accepted demonstrations and tools will be presented within a main conference session (presentations 15 min. + 5 min. for questions) and at demo booths during the poster session. Abstracts (200–500 words maximum) will be required and should include information on the novel contribution it makes, its state of development and licensing.

3) Posters:

Abstracts (200–500 words, plus 3 citations minimum) will be required for posters. Your abstract should include:

  • Background – a brief overview of the topic or research questions addressed by the poster
  • Methods and data – a description of the data used and the methods employed
  • Discussion/findings – a discussion of the wider implications of your research for network analysis in history.


Please submit your abstract by Sunday, 26 February 2023 (23:59 CET) via Microsoft CMT ( For information on how to create a submission, please see CMT’s documentation. Please note that the submission deadline will not be extended!

Notifications of acceptance/rejection will be announced by 31 March 2023. The conference language is English.

Selected papers and posters will be invited to prepare a submission for a peer-reviewed publication for a special conference issue in the Journal of Historical Network Research (

Please do not hesitate to contact the organising team for any questions you may have at Additional information on workshops, keynotes, and programme together with further practical information will be available shortly on the conference website.

Format of the Conference

As of this moment, we are planning on organising the conference as a live event with physical attendance. The conference venues, the Academy of Sciences and Literature and the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz, will comply with social distancing rules as established by German authorities and in effect at the time of the conference. If the situation changes, we will update all potential participants through the conference website, the HNR mailing list and the mailing list of the Graphs & Networks working group.

Keynotes will be delivered on Tuesday, July 18th (Opening Keynote: Garden lecture at the IEG), and Thursday, July 20th (Closing Keynote, Academy). Information on the speakers will be published on the conference website as soon as possible.

Participants are also invited to take part in one of the two half-day-workshops on Tuesday, July 18th. Information on the workshops will be published on the conference website in January.


Important dates

  • 26.02.2023: deadline for submissions via
  • 31.03.2023: notification of acceptance/rejection
  • 01.05.2023: registration opening
  • 15.07.2023: latest possible registration for participants
  • 18.–21.07.2023: conference
  • 31.08.2023: invitation of selected articles to JHNR

Programme Committee

  • Prof. Dr. Tara Andrews (University of Vienna)
  • Dr. Elisa Cugliana (Universität zu Köln)
  • Prof. Dr. Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
  • Dr. Thomas Efer (University of Leipzig)
  • Max Grüntgens (Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg)
  • Ing. Ronald Haentjens Dekker (Huygens Institute, Amsterdam)
  • Julian Jarosch (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Kuczera (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz / Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen)
  • Dr. Cindarella Petz (Leibniz Institute of European History – IEG)
  • Florian Thiery M.Sc. (Leibniz-Zentrum für Archäologie (LEIZA))
  • Dr. Demival Vasques Filho (Leibniz Institute of European History – IEG)
  • Dr. Ingeborg van Vugt (KNAW Humanities Cluster, Amsterdam)
  • Dr. Joris van Zundert (Huygens Institute, Amsterdam)


Published by Aline Deicke
December 6, 2022

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