HNR lunch lecture: Can historians trust centrality? (Sébastien de Valeriola, September 15)

Dear member of the HNR community,

We are pleased to announce another event in the HNR Lunch Lectures Series. These online lectures will shed a spotlight on recent research and ideas from the field of historical network analysis to promote discussion among the HNR community.

The next in our regular series of lunchtime lectures is on September 15, 2022 (12-1 p.m. CET). Our speaker will be Sébastien de Valeriola, assistant professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where he holds the chair of Digital Humanities in the Faculté de Lettres, traduction et communication.

You can find his abstract below or on the HNR website. If you would like to participate, please register via Eventbrite before September 13, 2022. You will receive a Zoom link by email prior to the lunch lecture.

Can historians trust centrality?

Sébastien de Valeriola

In this talk, we consider four measures of centrality in their use in the analysis of historical networks. Since the sources used by historians to construct such networks are by nature incomplete and imperfect, it is necessary to take into account as much as possible the robustness of these metrics, i.e., their stability with respect to the hazards that time has inflicted on historical documents. To study this, we apply a battery of tests to three networks constructed from medieval history data. These tests are designed to simulate the processes of disappearance and degradation of the information contained in sources by imitating as closely as possible the situations historians face when manipulating graphs. Our results allow us to assess the general relevance of the use of centrality in historical network analysis, to compare the four metrics studied in terms of robustness, and to identify a set of methodological points to which the historian applying such techniques must pay particular attention.

We are looking forward to welcoming you online on the 15th!

Best wishes,

Aline Deicke and Ingeborg van Vugt


Published by Ingeborg van Vugt
August 16, 2022

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