Contemporary history of Europe Digital history & historiography

The Digital Archive and the Politics of Digitisation

This paper will explore a key question for historians today: what are the politics of cultural heritage digitisation and its implications for historical research? What are the benefits and opportunities afforded by digitisation and what challenges arise? How do digital resources shape the historical themes, topics, and debates that can be researched, and how might they influence research agendas more broadly? In what ways can they enable us to ask new research questions or open avenues of inquiry that challenge existing master narratives? Can digital resources facilitate research into transnational histories when most digitization projects are still nationally framed? In short, what biases might digital archives introduce in our work and how does that differ from issues of bias and selection in the ‘paper’ archive? To address questions such as these, I will discuss several key parameters of the politics of digitisation set within a broader historical and global context.

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