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Why we need a Journal of Historical Network Research

While interdisciplinary research into the relational paradigm has produced an impressive body of work across the social and political sciences and also, increasingly, among historians, there is as yet no international medium of publication devoted to the study of networks in their historical contexts. This has put scholars with an interest in historical network research—both historians and historical sociologists—at a great disadvantage, and has meant that they have long been accustomed to publishing research papers in non-historical journals. The situation for historians interested in network research is further complicated by academic and cultural idiosyncrasies, since much of the groundbreaking and recent research into historical networks in the English-speaking world has been carried out by historical sociologists, rather than social historians, and has thus remained mostly outside the sphere of traditional academic history departments. This has naturally also influenced the means of publication for research in this area; preferred journals such as Social Networks and the American Journal of Sociology focus heavily on methodological and theoretical aspects. In short, there are no international publications devoted to the study of networks (social and otherwise) from a specifically historical perspective.

This is the gap that the Journal of Historical Network Research is keen to fill. Its aim is to publish outstanding and original contributions which apply the theories and methodologies of social network analysis to historical research, to help advance the epistemological and theoretical understanding of social network analysis in the historical, social and political sciences, and to promote empirical research on historical social interactions. The journal aims to promote the interplay between different areas of historical research (in the broadest sense), social and political sciences, and different research traditions and disciplines, while strengthening the dialogue between network research and “traditional” historical research. The journal will serve as a meeting place for the traditional hermeneutics of historical research and its concomitant emphasis on contextualisation and historical source criticism (as present in traditional academic historical journals) on the one hand, and the theory-heavy and/or sometimes overly technical discussion of methodological and technological issues (which predominates in publications focused on “pure” or sociological network research) on the other.

Editorial and Advisory Boards

The Editorial and Advisory Boards of the Journal of Historical Network Research are composed of scholars who have previously published in the field of historical network research, covering all of the main historical periods, from antiquity and the mediaeval period to (early) modern and contemporary history. The Advisory Board consists of noted scholars and internationally renowned experts from both the historical sciences and neighbouring disciplines (e.g. archaeology, social, political and economic sciences, digital humanities and computer science), whose task will be to ensure the academic quality of publications.

The journal is committed to excellence in research and scholarship and will adhere to the highest measures of quality control. Papers will be peer reviewed by experts in relevant fields. The journal will be an open access online publication hosted by the University of Luxembourg. As a digital medium the journal will emphasise the wide range of possibilities for publishing online. For network research in particular, this mode of publication holds a number of advantages. Unlike traditional print publications, no size or viewability limit is placed on network graphs. Data collections and databases may be published alongside research papers, and visual representations of networks are not limited to static figures but may also include dynamic/animated graphs and/or timelines, as well as three-dimensional network views. This encourages the development and application of digital resources alongside more traditional journals, with the aim of supporting relational science and historical network research.


Editorial Board

Christian Rollinger
University of Trier
Editor Ancient History

Robert Gramsch-Stehfest
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Editor Medieval History

Martin Stark
ILS Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Aachen
Editor Modern History

Marten Düring
University of Luxembourg
Editor Contemporary History

Ingeborg van Vugt
KNAW Humanities Cluster, Amsterdam
Editor Early Modern History

To inquire about future issues and other questions, please contact the editors at

Advisory Board

Wim Broekaert
University of Ghent

Giovanni Ruffini
Fairfield University

Frederik Elwert
Ruhr University Bochum

Luca De Benedictis
Università di Macerata

Paul McLean
Rutgers University

Tobias Winnerling
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Emily Erikson
Yale University

Henning Hillmann
University of Mannheim

Nick Crossley
University of Manchester

Lothar Krempel
Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Societies (ret.)

Malte Rehbein
University of Passau

Antske Fokkens
University of Amsterdam (VU)

Kimmo Elo
Åbo Akademi

Diane Cline
The George Washington University

Anna Collar
Aarhus University

Tom Brughmans
University of Konstanz

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)

Charles van den Heuvel
University of Amsterdam

Claire Lemercier
French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Christophe Verbruggen
University of Ghent

Linda von Keyserlingk
Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden

Matthias Bixler
University of Bremen

Susie J. Pak
St. John’s University

Martin Grandjean
Lausanne University

Richard Engl
University of Munich