Contemporary history of Europe Digital history & historiography

Exploring the History of Digital History: Setting an Agenda

Presentation for the ZZF PhD colloquium of my current (new) book project which explores the history and genealogies of digital history, set within the broader context of the ways in which technology has shaped historical research practices and knowledge production since the late 19th century. The aim is to investigate the intellectual underpinnings of the field we now call digital history by attending to the longue durée of the human-machine encounter in historical research. For over a century, historians have reflected upon the impact of various mechanical aids and computing on their discipline. Along the way, they have debated key epistemological and methodological questions that have resurfaced in our current era of ‘digital history’, yet this is often forgotten. If we accept, however, that historical research practices and knowledge production have always been affected by technology, then how can we qualify what is new in the current moment and what is not? In other words, how can we work towards a self-understanding of the field of digital history that is truly grounded in history?

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