History seminars at the IHR

Digital History

Convenors: Seth Denbo (American Historical Association), Matthew Phillpott (IHR), Richard Deswarte (UEA), Beth Hartland (KCL), Tim Hitchcock (Sussex), Peter Webster (British Library), Charlotte Tupman (KCL), and James Baker (British Library), Adam Crymble (Hertfordshire)

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

Autumn Term 2014
DateSeminar details
7 October Introducing Paper Machines

Jo Guldi (Brown University)

Historians of the twentieth century have to contend with a technological problem, the issue of archives too large to process by traditional methods.  While textual encoding, tagging, and n-grams can reveal certain patterns in digital archives, topic modeling and topic frequency, applied to hand-tailored archives, can help the historian make informed decisions about where in an archive to start looking.  Digital methods, in this way, are driving historians to longer and longer time scales, making it possible for even younger scholars to perform a 'distant reading' on big questions that range over nations and centuries.  The talk will follow parts of the argument of The History Manifesto (2014), comparing how a historian's search for periodization, agency, and causality in the data compare with use and abuse of digital data in other digital fields.

Jo Guldi is author of Roads to Power (2012), What is the Spatial Turn? (2012), The History Manifesto (2014), and the digital toolkit Paper Machines (2012).  She is Hans Rothfels Assistant Professor of Modern Britain and its Empire at Brown University.  Her next project, The Long Land War, examines a century and a half of movements for land and water around the globe.


4 November Interrogating the archived UK web: Historians and Social Scientists Research Experiences

Speakers TBC


18 November Citizen History and its discontents

Mia Ridge (Open University)

An increasing number of crowdsourcing projects are making claims about 'citizen history' - but are they really helping people become historians, or are they overstating their contribution? Can citizen history projects succeed without communities of experts and peers to nurture sparks of historical curiosity and support novice historians in learning the skills of the discipline? Through a series of case studies this paper offers a critical examination of claims around citizen history.


26 November Mapping Eighteenth-Century Tourism in the English Lakes

Ian Gregory and Chris Donaldson (Lancaster)

Joint session with British History in the Long-Eighteenth Century seminar

Please note: this session takes place in the Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, North block, Senate House