A timeline of the year's main highlights

2019 highlights


New lecture series – New Horizons: Confronting the Digital Turn in the Humanities

As a result of the digital turn, the humanities are currently in a process of rapid transformation, with consequences that reach far beyond the confines of academia. This lecture series explores how the digital turn is changing research, teaching and dissemination in the humanities. It also aims to historicise and contextualise this process. Amid far-reaching claims of shifting research paradigms and a possible scientification of humanities research, it is more urgent than ever to cast a critical eye on the continuities as well as discontinuities that new technologies bring, in order to avoid techno-scientific essentialism. How exactly are the humanities being transformed as a result of the digital turn? To what extent can we speak of hybridity as the new normal – a situation where most humanists combine traditional/analogue and new/digital research practices?


Forum Z – Who’s afraid of the digital?

For this Forum Z, the C²DH organised a hands-on fair and a discussion café to explore the impact of the digital transformation of society on education and research. The main focus was the question of how education, research and our engagement with cultural heritage are affected by processes of digitisation.


C²DH receives funding to build a Time Machine

The European Commission chose Time Machine as one of six proposals for the strategic development of large-scale research initiatives over the next decade. The C²DH/University of Luxembourg is a member of the Time Machine consortium.

€1 million in funding has been granted to prepare detailed roadmaps for this initiative that aims to extract and use the big data of the past. Time Machine plans to design and implement advanced new digitisation and artificial intelligence technologies to mine Europe’s vast cultural heritage, providing fair and free access to information that will support future scientific and technological developments in Europe.”


Exhibition – Le procès des grands criminels de guerre devant le Tribunal militaire international à Nuremberg: un procès fondateur

The C²DH was a partner of this exhibition that shed light on the Second World War and the first trial conducted by the International Military Tribunal. The exhibition was an opportunity to showcase a chapter in the history of Luxembourg: in the weeks preceding the trial, around 70 Nazi criminals were imprisoned and interrogated in Mondorf-les-Bains. It also encouraged visitors to reflect on developments in international criminal law, 70 years after the landmark Nuremberg Trial.


New publication – Une histoire contemporaine du Luxembourg en 70 chroniques

Published by the C²DH and the Fondation Robert Krieps, this book is a compilation of the columns by Denis Scuto for the Luxembourg daily newspaper Tageblatt from 2015 to 2019. It is richly illustrated by often previously unpublished documents.


New book series – Appearances. Studies in Visual Research

De Gruyter launched a new book series edited by Karin Priem (C²DH), Tim Allender (University of Sydney), Inés Dussel (Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, Cinvestav, Mexico City) and Ian Grosvenor (University of Birmingham). The aim of the book series is to initiate and encourage debates and scholarly exchanges on images and films as complex materials and social objects in the humanities and social sciences.


New publication – Penser l’histoire des médias

Penser l’histoire des médias, or reflecting on media history: the 50 contributions in this book set out to explore the historiographical and academic journey of media history alongside more topical issues and future prospects.

The idea for the book was launched at the first conference of the Society for the History of Media, the third edition of which will be held in June 2020 at the University of Lausanne, with the C²DH as a partner. The aim of the book, geared towards students and researchers in media history, is to combine theoretical chapters with case studies, general reflections on historiography and future prospects, and accounts on personal experiences in media history.


Forum Z – Visualising history

Visualisation techniques can be used to interconnect large volumes of information as a means of tapping into new knowledge. When it comes to historical research, the value of these techniques depends on the quantity of historical information and digital data available and the user-friendly nature of the visualisation software.

This Forum Z presented various projects that are exploring methods for illustrating historical processes. Participants discussed both the possibilities raised by the visualisation of history and the limits of such techniques. The projects included historical paintings as historical sources, the reconstruction of the Pfaffenthal district of Luxembourg City in virtual space, the 3D reconstruction of a coastal battery in the First World War, and the Europe-wide Time Machine Project, in which computer scientists and historians are working together to develop a comprehensive digitised representation of historical sources.


Academic event – Pierre Werner and Luxembourg: a vision for Europe

On Friday 24 May 2019, Casa Luxembourg Sibiu hosted the academic event “Pierre Werner and Luxembourg: a vision for Europe”. Held under the joint patronage of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, the event was organised by the Luxembourg Embassy, the Honorary Consulate in Sibiu and the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), together with their partners the European Merit Foundation (Luxembourg), the Pierre Werner Foundation under the aegis of the Fondation de Luxembourg, the publisher Palgrave Macmillan, the University of Luxembourg’s Robert Schuman Initiative for European Affairs and Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu.


Conference – Decoding Europe – Technological Pasts in the Digital Age

From 27 June to 1 July 2019, the C²DH hosted the 9th conference of the Tensions of Europe network at the University of Luxembourg.

Tensions of Europe (ToE) is an international scholarly network whose research focuses on three broad areas – history, Europe and technology – and how they are intertwined. Since 2013, the network has published the book series “Making Europe” as a means of analysing how the history of Europe can be narrated by focusing not on a series of political changes but on the continuity of technological innovation and development. The most recent volume, edited by Andreas Fickers and Pascal Griset, was presented at the opening reception.


Special issue of VIEW on Audiovisual Data in Digital Humanities

Co-edited by Andreas Fickers, Pelle Snickars and Mark J. Williams, issue 14/volume 7 of the VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture was published in July 2019.

This issue of VIEW provided a critical survey of new digital humanities methods and tools in the area of audiovisual media. While DH as a field seems dominated by a focus on textual studies, the need to improve capabilities to search, discover and study audiovisual media is clear. New and emerging tools are reasonably expected to change this methodological landscape within the digitally accelerated near future.


Launch of a new research project on the industrial histories of the Minette region

The C²DH signed an agreement with the “Esch 2022 – European Capital of Culture” association for the research project “Remixing Industrial Pasts in the Digital Age: Sounds, Images, Ecologies, Practices and Materialities in Space and Time”.

The project will be a sustainable contribution to the Esch 2022 programme. It aims to strengthen links between the university in Belval and the town of Esch-sur-Alzette through a historical investigation of the region’s industrial past.


Professor Sean Takats, leading researcher in digital history software and infrastructure, joins the C²DH

Professor Dr Sean Takats, an internationally renowned digital history expert, started his research work in Luxembourg in October 2019, backed by an FNR PEARL Chair from the Luxembourg National Research Fund. The FNR’s PEARL programme provides competitive funding to attract top researchers in strategic research areas for Luxembourg.

Professor Takats’ PEARL project aims to transform historical research practices to meet the demands of the digital age and establish Luxembourg as one of the global leaders in digital history research and development. The DHARPA project (Digital History Advanced Research Projects Accelerator) will assess the impact of technology on historical research and experiment with how technology can reshape the methodological underpinnings of history as a scientific discipline.


Launch of a virtual exhibition about the 100th anniversary of BGL BNP Paribas

The exhibition “BGL: L’histoire d’un siècle” covers the history of BGL BNP Paribas from its beginnings in 1919 to today, as well as its role in and contribution to the economy and development of Luxembourg. It aims to give a modern, educational presentation of the bank’s history in a digital format that is accessible to a wide audience.


New publication – Fabricating Modern Societies: Education, Bodies, and Minds in the Age of Steel

Fabricating Modern Societies: Education, Bodies, and Minds in the Age of Steel, edited by Karin Priem and Frederik Herman, offers new interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives on the history of industrialisation and societal transformation in early 20th-century Luxembourg.


Launch of the Journal of Digital History

In October 2019, the C²DH and publisher De Gruyter launched the Journal of Digital History, which aims to become a hub for critical debate and discussion in the field of digital history.


Forum Z – Women on the march from 1919 to 2019 in Luxembourg

This Forum Z on the emancipation and representation of women in Luxembourg from 1919 to 2019 took place on 10 October. Around a hundred people interested in the topic took part in this unique four-part event. After a themed 35-minute guided tour (in three languages) by the curators of the exhibition wielewatmirsinn – 100 Joer allgemengt Wahlrecht, the participants came together to listen to six contributions by experts offering specific perspectives on the topic.


International scientific conference – Le Luxembourg et la Grande-Région au sortir de la 1re Guerre mondiale

The end of the First World War marked a turning point in political, economic, social and cultural relations between Luxembourg and its neighbours in what we now refer to as the Greater Region. The centre of political and economic gravity moved from (West) Germany to France, while Belgium struggled to find its place in these territorial reorganisations. On 17 October 2019, the C²DH held an international conference to explore this process of transition, extending the topic to a series of related themes that highlight the international, cross-border nature of the developments.


Forum Z – From one wall to another… Connected histor(y/ies)

9 November 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The collapse of this symbol of a world divided into two rival blocs was followed by a series of major geopolitical changes: German reunification (20 September 1990); the end of communism and democratic transitions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, resulting in the eastward enlargement of the European Union; the break-up of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Commonwealth of Independent States (8 December 1991); the end of the Cold War and the new approach to Euro-Atlantic security; the wars in Yugoslavia (1991-2001), which redrew the map of Europe; and a new world order based on multilateralism.

To reflect on these events which changed the course of history in the 20th century and discuss how they resonate with the world today, the Forum Z – From one wall to another… Connected histor(y/ies) brought together experts from different horizons for a round table to discuss the changing concept of “walls” in history.

see also

2019 annual report

Building the future of history in the digital age     read more