History seminars at the IHR

Digital History

Convenors: Mia Ridge (British Library), Adam Crymble (Hertfordshire), Matthew Phillpott (IHR), Melodee Beals (Loughborough), James Baker (Sussex), Tessa Hauswedell (UCL), Justin Colson (Essex), Richard Deswarte (UEA), Mia Ridge (Open University)

For information and enquiries, please contact: Matt Phillpott on: matt.phillpott@sas.ac.uk

Venue: John S Cohen Room 203, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Time: Tuesdays, 5.15 pm

Seminars are normally streamed live online. See the seminar blog for info. To keep in touch, follow us on Twitter (@IHRDigHist) or at the hashtag #dhist.

Some podcasts from this seminar are available online

Digital History seminar YouTube channel

Summer Term 2016
DateSeminar details
19 April Mapping Paris: Artists and their Neighbourhoods in the 18th Century

Hannah Williams

Paris is a city renowned for its artistic communities. Images spring to mind of neighbourhoods like Montmartre and Montparnasse in the 19th and 20th centuries, but strikingly little is known about what came before. How did artists inhabit the 'city of art' in the early modern period? Through a digital mapping project, it is my intention to explore the much longer and less familiar history of artistic communities in Paris. By tracing the locations of artists' homes and studios back through the 18th century, this project, and the digital resource being produced, has the potential to shed new light on issues of artistic sociability, the role of the city in art production, and urban experience more generally. In this paper I will discuss the stages of this on-going research project, present preliminary findings, and consider some of the challenges of digital history for non-technologists.


17 May "The Best Mechanical Paper in the World": Scientific American, Reprinting, and the Circulation of Popular Science in Nineteenth-Century Newspapers

Ryan Cordell

In this talk, Ryan Cordell will draw from the Viral Texts project (http://viraltexts.org) at Northeastern University to demonstrate how reprinting, excerpting, and related textual practices shaped popular ideas about science and mechanics in the mid-nineteenth-century, both in the US and internationally. In widely-circulated advertisements from the 1840s, 50s, and 60s, the publishers of Scientific American lauded the paper’s “interesting, valuable, and useful information” for readers. Many nineteenth-century editors agreed, and columns from Scientific American were among the most widely-reprinted in the period, along with a plethora of related recipes, household tips, listicles, and columns of practical knowledge that promised to be of immediate use to readers. While individually such pieces might seem ephemeral to modern readers, when considered as a corpus—and tracked across space and time—they contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of everyday reading and writing during the nineteenth-century. Computationally-derived bibliographies of “information literature” allow us to ask what kinds of scientific knowledge “went viral”—to borrow a modern term—among nineteenth-century readers, and what might these pieces tell us about the priorities of readers and editors? What “information literature” spread beyond national borders? How did nineteenth-century newspaper exchanges foster a more diffuse (but possibly less robust) understanding of science and technology among the public?