Call for PhD applicants in the History of Digital History
Individual AFR grant – Call for PhD applicants in the History of Digital History
The Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) is looking for motivated and qualified candidates with an interest in the history of digital history to develop, with our help, an application for an individual AFR PhD grant (Luxemburg National Research Fund).
The doctoral project would take place within the framework of a new research project & network about the history of digital humanities that is currently being developed by Dr. Gerben Zaagsma (C²DH) and Prof. dr. Julianne Nyhan (Technische Universität Darmstadt/ University College London).
We are interested in applicants who seek to explore the nexus between (digital) technology and changing modes of historical knowledge production. Possible topics include but are not not limited to:
- The early beginnings of historical computing in the 1950s and 1960s or humanities research from this period or before that integrated algorithmic research methods or thinking, not necessarily using machines.
- The development of historical computing in the Eastern bloc.
- The international Association for History and Computing (1986-2005)
If selected for an AFR, the PhD candidate will be offered a work contract (up to 4 years) at the University of Luxemburg and will be jointly supervised by Dr. Zaagsma and Prof. Nyhan.
- Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a Master degree in History, Digital History or Humanities, or a related field in the Humanities
- Good verbal communication and academic writing skills in English;
- Linguistic skills corresponding to your chosen topic (German, Russian, others).
- Enthusiasm for research and critical thinking.
We actively encourage applicants from underrepresented social, economic, and cultural backgrounds to apply, as we strongly believe that an intercultural and diverse team strengthens the research and practice of digital history.
Successful AFR applicants will be offered:
- An exciting multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities to exchange with scholars at the University of Luxembourg;
- A highly competitive salary for a full-time PhD position for a period of maximum 4 consecutive years (3+1 years);
- A package of mentoring, training and career development as well as access to a wide range of courses and seminars offered by the University of Luxembourg. A close connection with the Chair of Humanities Data Science and Methodology, TU Darmstadt will be encouraged, including the opportunity to actively participate in the research-related events and activities of the Chair, as mutually agreeable.
Doctoral candidates are encouraged to actively engage in disciplinary, interdisciplinary as well as transferable skills trainings and to develop their scientific profile and network through participation in international conferences.
About the University of Luxembourg and the C²DH
Founded in 2003, the University of Luxembourg is the only public university of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Multilingual, international and research-oriented, it is also a modern institution with a personal atmosphere. 1,420 academic staff (including 950 doctoral candidates) supporting 268 professors, assistant professors and lecturers in their teaching. The academic staff originates from 94 different countries, and the 6,783 students from 130 different countries.
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 Luxembourgish and European history. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach with a particular focus on new digital methods and tools for historical research and teaching.
How to apply?
Prepare your complete application including:
- a cover letter including your personal motivation for the PhD project;
- a CV (incl. links to publications and/or previous projects);
- a project description for your PhD project (max. 2 pages) that includes the research area, and objectives.
Please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org, whom you can also contact for questions.
The deadline for applications: 13 February2023 at midnight CET (Luxembourg time) and candidates will be notified of the outcome of their application by 22 February. The deadline for submitting the AFR grant applications is 8 March 2023. The applicants will be informed by July 2023 whether the application has been accepted for funding.
Tag: Digital history
AOM 2022 PDW: Digital archives search
Are you interested in learning about how to use email in your research? If so, please come to a special Professional Development Workshop (PDW) at the 2022 Academy of Management (AOM) Annual Meeting to learn how other scholars are using email and to participate in a study about knowledge discovery in large-scale, organizational email corpora.
Emails are materially different from the correspondence of the pre-digital age, but their significance as traces of the past is substantial, especially for organizations, where email is not only used as a form of correspondence but also as an informal mode of record keeping. We believe that the preservation of a meaningful, relatively complete email archive is one plausible pathway to supporting scholarly research on organizations.
The forthcoming PDW — “Introducing the ‘Digitally Curious’ to Email Archives for Organizational Research and History (session 183)” — is sponsored by the Management History (MH) division of AOM and will introduce the “digitally curious” scholar to email archives for organizational research. It will be moderated by Prof David Kirsch (University of Maryland, US), Dr Adam Nix (University of Birmingham, UK), Shubhangkar Girish Jain (University of Maryland, US) in person, and online by Prof Stephanie Decker (University of Birmingham, UK, and University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Dr Santhilata Kuppili Venkata (independent scholars).
The PDW will take place on Friday, August 5, from 2:00-4:00pm PDT in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual participation supported. To allow participants to access the email tools and collections, pre-registration is requested. If you would like to register or to learn more about the workshop and the project, please email Shubhangkar Girish Jain (email@example.com).
Attendees at the PDW are invited to contribute to research on the use of email and will be encouraged to complete a post-workshop survey that will constitute an input to our ongoing research in this area. Completion of the survey is not required to attend and participate in the workshop.
Unlocking our Digital Past – 2nd workshop
For those with an interest in digital history and digital archives, reflections and presentations from the second workshop of the “Unlocking our Digital Past” are available here: https://unlockingourdigitalpast.com/blog-2/
Also AEOLIAN (AI for Cultural Organisations), an international network, runs events – to find out more you can join their mailing list to receive the latest news: https://www.aeolian-network.net/join-aeolian-2/
Hagley History Hangout: Video Games
New episode is available in the Hagley History Hangout
In this episode, Gregory Hargreaves interviews Kevin Bunch about his research into the early history of video games, and his innovative use of Hagley materials to recreate forgotten games. In support of his project, Bunch, a writer & communications specialist at the International Joint Commission, received support from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society. What makes a video game system commercially successful, and is it possible to resurrect failed and forgotten video games? The RCA collections at the Hagley Library hold the answer to these questions and many more, and the work of Kevin Bunch bring them to light. Combining archival research, oral history, data retrieval, and game emulation, Bunch brings forgotten aspects of twentieth-century computer and video game history to life for a new generation.
Update from the “Unlocking the Past” project
We are delighted to share a short blog piece on the first Unlocking our Digital Past workshop that seeks to capture some of the key discussions we had. It was really nice reflecting on the event when writing this. Please feel free to read and share with anyone who you think might be interested.
For a peak at the presentations from the workshop, take a look at their website: https://unlockingourdigitalpast.com/blog-2/
Unlocking our Digital Past
As part of our research project on “Contextualising Email Archives”, we were invited to attend and present at a fantastic event from the “Unlocking our Digital Past” project in July. For a recording of the presentation discussing key issues in the current debate on digital heritage, have a look at their website: https://unlockingourdigitalpast.com/blog-2/ .
Update from the Contextualising Email Archives Research Project
As part of our AHRC-funded collaborative research project on “Historicising the dot.com boom and contextualising email archives”, we have recorded an introduction to our project and its aims. In case you are interested, you can find the presentation here.
New Digital Humanities journal
As part of our little series of resources in digital history, I wanted to make you aware of a new journal: Digital Humanities in the BeNeLux, which is open access here. The first issue has an interesting introduction on “Integrating Digital Humanities”, but many of the examples are obviously not in our area of expertise. Nevertheless, the introduction by Julie Birkholz and Gerben Zaagsma, is useful in outlining important features of the field that are not necessarily obvious to anyone not engaged directly with these questions:
“Much ink has been spent, and occasionally spilled, trying to define the Digital Humanities and its place among the academic disciplines. Yet whether it is seen as a field of its own, a sub- or inter-discipline, or a set of practices, most proponents agree on some basic characteristics, with interdisciplinarity probably topping the list. As early as two decades ago, Willard McCarty was among the first to assert that DH constituted an interdiscipline, due to its “common ground of method [which] makes it possible to teach applied computing to a class of humanists from widely varying disciplines” (McCarty 1999). At the same time, DH challenges existing and ingrained research practices (perhaps sometimes more imagined than real), according to which humanities research questions must always derive from domain knowledge, by proposing new data- and method-driven approaches to research in the humanities. [my emphasis]
In practice, Digital Humanities projects typically involve, and bring together, a variety of practitioners from different backgrounds: academics from various fields and disciplines, librarians, archivists and museum experts. [my emphasis] All of this could easily be construed as providing evidence of the existence of some sort of shared field; yet the influence of the digital on the various phases of our research practice (whether information gathering, processing, analysis and dissemination) comes in many forms: sometimes it is obvious, sometimes it is tacit and implicit, and sometimes aspirational. …”
For organizational history, this raises a number of questions, for example, what new data- and method-driven approaches could be relevant for us, and how we could collaborate more with organizational archivists going forward. So far these debates are very much in their infancy in our field, but are likely to become more important in the years to come.
Crowdsourcing digitisation in archives
In another instalment of our digital history series, I wanted to highlight that there is increasingly work being done involving crowdsourcing. Many of you may have read the media reports that during the lock down, a crowdsourcing project to digitise rainfall records has barrelled ahead as people enthusiastically engaged. The project is now complete. Does make you wonder what other archival resources may benefit from such an approach.
The National Archives UK has been exploring this recently as well and the potential for expanding this is really not something that was on my radar at all until recently. An interesting insight into what is happening is provided by a chapter by Alexandra Everleigh, ‘Crowding out the Archivist?’ in an edited volume on Crowdsourcing our Heritage. I am not aware that there are any organization or business-focused crowdsourcing projects underway, but may just be my ignorance. Do let us know if this is something that is being explored or ongoing in an archive near you!
History of the WWW and the ‘digital tsunami’
If you are interested in how our research practices are likely to shift as a result of the ‘digital tsunami’ that is facing archives, digital history is the place to go. But business and organizational historians have not really been part of these debates so far. We are starting a series of occasional posts about some of the resources that are out there on digital tools and debates.
For a bit of reading, a good place to start is Ian Milligan’s History in the age of abundance? How the web is transforming historical research (2019). We have a review in Business History by Adam Nix, and he has kindly agreed to make the code for 50 free offprints available – just click here. (FYI – when they are gone, they are gone.)
Here’s the opening to get you started:
“The late twentieth century and early millennium are fast becoming focal periods for historians; as Milligan notes, we are now further from the 1990s than we were from the 1960s when substantive historical work began on that pivotal decade. Given the tendency towards comparatively recent historical contexts, business historians are likely to be among the first to start exploring these periods. However, to do so, they will need to engage with a new and challenging set of sources: sources that were created digitally; sources like those deriving from the World Wide Web. Ultimately, it is this engagement that Milligan’s latest book seeks to encourage and enable, and in doing so, he provides readers with a comprehensive and well-articulated view into the web as a focus for historical research. …”
Ian Milligan has posted about the review here in case you are interested.