Digitale Geschichte und Historiographie

Call for Papers: Revolutionary, disruptive, or just repeating itself? Tracing the History of Digital History #dhiha9

alle news
Call for Papers: Revolutionary, disruptive, or just repeating itself? Tracing the History of Digital History #dhiha9
The C²DH is co-organiser of an international conference about the History of Digital History that will take place at the German Historical Institute in October 2024.

Organised by: Mareike König (IHA/GHI), Julianne Nyhan (TU Darmstadt), Sébastien Poublanc (univ. Toulouse), Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study), Gerben Zaagsma (C²DH)

Date: 23-25 2024 - starting Wednesday at 2 pm, ending Friday at 1 pm

Place: Institut historique allemand (IHA)/German Historical Institute (GHI), Paris Languages: English Mail for inquiries:

Upload your proposal here:

Deadline CFP: 10 January 2024 at 23.59 (CET)

Free participation. Online presentation/participation possible.

Computing in the humanities is far from a new phenomenon, yet the highly diverse genealogies of what we now call digital history seem to have only little resonance among digital historians. A decade ago Turkel et al. observed that “digital history currently lacks an established historiography”, and judging from Adam Crymble’s observations about the “blind spot of digital historians” in relation to their own past, we still have some way to go. This is not unique to digital history. As Nyhan, Flinn and Welsh have noted, much discourse about digital humanities in the past twenty years is characterised by a revolutionary rhetoric in which the complex history of computing in the humanities is effectively erased.

As a result, it seems as if every new generation of historians rediscovers the promise of digital history, with all of its attendant hopes, visions and ambitions for reinventing and reshaping historical research. Yet, the very fact that historical knowledge production and historical research practices have always been affected by new and emerging technologies is often forgotten. Similarly, the fact that key epistemological and methodological questions in what we now call digital history were already debated decades ago by earlier generations of computing historians (analog and digital) is mostly overlooked. Manfred Thaller has written how this repetition of old debates and so-called new solutions of the very same problem feels like a “remake of Groundhog Day”, the well-known movie in which the main character, Bill Murray, is caught in a time loop and has to relive the same day over and over.

This forgetfulness of our own history is not only ironic (we are historians, after all) but risks harming the field. Many of the epistemological and methodological questions and problems we
face today were already debated or solved decades ago, even if many applications of computing by today’s digital historians might seem radically different. To avoid repeating past debates and reinventing the wheel, and to learn from earlier solutions, it is therefore imperative to build upon the accumulated expertise of our predecessors and the vast literature on historical computing produced since the 1950s. Doing so will help ground our field as we learn from past successes and failures.

In recent years, interest in the history of the digital humanities has grown. These endeavours can be seen as part of a broader process of consolidating the field by excavating its historical and intellectual underpinnings. The conference at the German Historical Institute Paris from 23-25 October 2024 will connect to this growing interest by exploring the history of digital history from different perspectives and providing an overview of ongoing research on the field.

To do so we invite papers on the following questions and topics, including but not limited to:

  • Theorising the human-machine encounter in historical research (for example by applying insights from the history of technology and media history).
  • The history of digital history in the context of the history of historiography (how to situate the field, historically, within the broader discipline).
  • Consideration of how the history of digital history can illuminate wider conversations and cognate fields, such as the history of the humanities and the history and philosophy of knowledge.
  • Local/national case studies of computing in historical research.
  • Transnational dimensions and entangled histories of digital history.
  • Genealogy of theories and concepts of digital history and historical computing (including definitions in various languages and, for example, concepts such as digital hermeneutics).
  • Socio-cultural and other dimensions, including how race, gender and labour have co-constituted such histories.
  • Development of digital practices, methods, and tools in historical perspective.
  • Development of teaching methods of digital history in historical perspective.

We envision pre-circulation of papers. Presentations will be 10-minutes, followed by 5-minutes comment, allowing ample time for discussion.

Please upload your paper submission (in English, max. 500 words) and a short CV (max 2 pages) on the conference webpage by 10 January 2024 at 23.59 (CET) together in one PDF-file. Submissions will be peer reviewed. The organisers and the programme committee will choose from among the proposals and deliver the outcome by the end of February 2024. We encourage doctoral students and early career researchers to apply. Depending on available funding, travel and accommodation costs for speakers will be covered by the organisers. We favour in-person attendance of presenters but will provide facilities for hybrid participation to make the event as inclusive as possible.

This conference will be the ninth in the series of “Digital Humanities at the GHI, dhiha”, which received great international attention and which has been presented by the Digital History Department of GHI Paris from 2011 onwards.


Programme Committe

Oliver le Deuff (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)

Torsten Hiltmann (HU Berlin)

Mareike König (GHI Paris)

Stéphane Lamassé (Université Paris 1)

Hélène Noizet (Université de Paris 1)

Julianne Nyhan (TU Darmstadt)

Alexandra Ortolja-Baird (University of Portsmouth)

Sébastien Poublanc (Laboratoire Framespa, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)

Martin Schmitt (Universität Paderborn)

Pauline Spychala (GHI Paris)

Helle Strandgaard Jensen (Aarhus University)

Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study)

Gerben Zaagsma (C²DH)


Blog of the conference: