Valérie Schafer is a Professor in Contemporary European History

Valérie Schafer has been a Professor in Contemporary European History at the C²DH (Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History) at the University of Luxembourg since February 2018. She previously worked at the CNRS in France and is still an Associate Researcher at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS – CNRS UPR 2000).

She specialises in the history of computing, telecommunications and data networks. Her main research interests are the history of the Internet and the Web, the history of European digital cultures and infrastructures, and born-digital heritage (especially Web archives).

Professor Schafer is the Head of the Contemporary European History (EHI) research area at the C²DH since 2020, co-DET of the Master in European Contemporary History since 2018, and Chargée de mission « Archives de l’University du Luxembourg » (since mid-July 2023). She is also Vice-Chair of the ECREA Communication History Section, the chair of the Management Committee of the “Tensions of Europe” network, and General Secretary of the Society for the History of Media (SPHM). She was involved in the projects Esch 2022 at the C²DH, she participated to OPERAS-P (H2020, 2019-2021) as a task leader on innovative models of governance, She is involved in the SNF Project Web History, in the DFG-FNR funded project Popkult (2021-2024) and in the “Deep Data Science of Digital History” (D4H), a Doctoral Training Unit funded through the FNR’s PRIDE programme since autumn 2022. She was one of the co-PI of the WARCnet project (supported by the Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities (grant number 9055-00005B)). She was also the PI of the AWAC2 cohort (Analysing Web Archives of the COVID Crisis through the IIPC Novel Coronavirus dataset, 2021-22) which was engaged in collaborative activities with the Archives Unleashed Project and benefited from its support and mentorship. She led the BUZZ-F project, a research project supported by the BnF DataLab at the French National Library in 2022. She was the principal investigator of the HIVI project, running from March 2021 to February 2024, which was supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (C20/SC/14758148) and dedicated to the history of online virality.

She is currently co-PI avec the DIGMEDIA project (2024-28) with Sebastian Gießman (University of Siegen), funded in part by DFG (SFB 1187 Medien der Kooperation) and in part by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) [INTER/DFG/23/17960744/DIGMEDIA]. The subproject “Digitally Networked Media between Specialization and Universalization” (subproject A01 of the Collaborative Research Center 1187 “Media of Cooperation” at the University of Siegen) pursues a historical praxeology of digitally networked media that foregrounds specific techno-economic trajectories since 1989. The project historically contextualizes the boom of wireless technologies and reconstructs the media history of wireless technologies with a focus on the Bluetooth standard. It also explores the agencies for marketing-oriented usage research that cropped up on the web from the 1990s onwards. She also leads the CD-Hist project (supported by FNR for 2024-2026, C23/SC/18097856/CD-Hist), which aims to retrieve the history of CD-ROMs. Despite a plethora of sources and born-digital heritage, CD-ROMs, as both a storage tool in the late 1980s and an entire branch of digital culture in the 1990s, are still lacking a comprehensive history encompassing technical, economic, cultural and social dimensions and embedding this “object biography” into the longer history of digital storage, interactivity, mediated interactions, consumption and practices.

Valérie Schafer is part of the steering committee of the BeCoS project (Become a Computer Scientist) led by the Scienteens Lab, supported by an FNR PSP-Flagship. She is co-head with Benjamin Thierry of the working group "Patrimine numérique" within the GDR 2091 "Internet, AI and Society" (CNRS, Centre Internet et société). She is on the editorial board of the journals Le Temps des Médias, Cahiers François Viète, Journal of Digital History, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing and Flux and is a co-founder and co-editor of the journal Internet Histories (Taylor & Francis). She is also a member of the Scientific Board of the Orange Group and of Afnic, the French domain name management company.