CFP: Reconstructing Historical Network Digitally. New Approaches, Opportunities and Epistemological Implications of Social Network Analysis – Washington DC 10/18
via Martin Stark:
German Historical Institute
25.10.2018-27.10.2018, Washington DC, Washington DC
Deadline: 12.04.2018

Third Annual GHI Conference on Digital Humanities and Digital History
International Conference and Workshop at the German Historical Institute
In collaboration with Stanford University
Conveners: Matthew Hiebert (GHI), Simone Lässig (GHI), Katherine
McDonough (Stanford)
Keywords:  historical and social network analysis; digital history;
digital humanities; historical networks; modelling; social structures;
historical methods; semantic web; Quellenkritik; digital tools; graph
visualization; knowledge creation
This event seeks to assess through international dialogue the
state-of-the-art in social network analysis (SNA) for creating genuinely
historical knowledge, both in respect to tools and their applications,
but also with regard to methodological and epistemological implications.
Established since the 1970s in the social sciences, network analysis
conceptualizes individuals as embedded within webs of social structures
through which influence and other resources are transferred disparately.
 The method is increasingly being adopted and transformed by scholars
studying global and transregional history to reveal illuminating
patterns and to make new arguments.

This event is intended as an opportunity to discuss advantages,
challenges and limits of adapting and applying SNA tools to historical
research.  The conference aims at reflecting upon the impact of the
method on conceptions of history, historical methodology, and
Quellenkritik and vice versa-to think through, first, how approaches to
social network analysis might change the discipline of history and the
knowledge it produces. Second, the conference will discuss pitfalls,
methodological challenges, and limits than can be identified when
applying principles of social network analysis and existing software
programs to historical research, which has to take into account not only
space and place, but also time. 
The development of web-based environments for social network
analysis-facilitating  collaborative research, enhancing data
integration, and combining other digital methods-is transforming ways in
which social network analysis is being undertaken.  These and more
traditional SNA tools are allowing historians to clarify social factors
affecting historical agents and to develop arguments in new ways. 
Notably, historians are increasingly turning to SNA for analytically
contending with the entanglements, human ties, and geographical
distances of transnational communities and actors.  The integration of
SNA with advanced data visualization, semantic web and Resource
Description Framework (RDF), mapping, and collaborative techniques
promises further research advances within history.
This event focuses on processes and implications of historical social
network analyses towards exploring how approaches, platforms, and
standards can be used to model networks reflecting quality data,
accurate results, and new insights. To open up opportunities for
critical inner- but also inter-disciplinary theoretical-methodological
reflection and comparison, the event seeks to present and discuss a
large range of approaches and historical topics. We especially welcome,
therefore, proposals that are comparative in scope, projects integrating
several digital techniques, and approaches contending with multiple
geographical regions.
While the overriding concern of the event is the use of social network
analysis in historiography, from the Early Modern period to the present,
the range of approaches is open and may involve digital humanities,
cultural history, political history, history of knowledge,
(post)colonial history, urban history, the methodological history or
other critical frameworks. Although research centered on nation-states
is relevant, we are particularly interested in the question of how to
use historical SNA for transnational, transregional and global history
Please submit proposals by April 12, 2018 for either (or both):
a.      20-minutes presentations at the conference
or / and
b.      Workshops of one to two hours.  Please include a suggested
schedule and intended participant learning outcomes.
Questions and topics that might be addressed (but are by no means
limited to) are:
1.      Historical perspectives on social network analysis as a
scientific method
2.      Reflecting on the transformation of historical inquiry through
the adoption of social network analysis and associated approaches
3.      Tracing the dynamics of class, race, ethnicity, gender or other
factors within communities or societies
4.      New opportunities for migration and mobility studies
5.      Network-Analysis for the history of knowledge circulation and
its agents
6.      Opportunities and challenges of existing and experimental digital
methods in historical network analysis that address temporal, spatial,
and other issues 
7.      Managing, transforming, and sharing historical evidence for SNA
8.      Resources needed for using or adapting SNA in historical research
Funding is available to support travel expenses. Please submit proposals
of no more than 500 words, with a short (1-2 page) CV, by April 12 2018
to Susanne Fabricius ( For further information
regarding format and concept of the event please contact Dr. Matthew
Hiebert (
Published by Marten Düring
March 12, 2018

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