Spotlight on innovative projects and the people behind them

Research success stories

A global open-science platform for doing history in the digital age

The C²DH’s research activities are based around four thematic areas: contemporary history of Luxembourg, contemporary history of Europe, public history and digital historiography. The Centre’s research projects systematically incorporate digital methods and tools. This innovative approach encourages researchers to explore the multiple avenues that have been opened up by the advent of the digital age, ranging from new methods for the exploration of historical sources and for data storage, organisation, analysis and visualisation to transmedia storytelling and public outreach.

The DHARPA (Digital History Advanced Research Projects Accelerator) project assesses the impact of technology on historical research and experiments with how technology can reshape the methodological underpinnings of history as a scientific discipline. This project, initiated by Prof. Dr Sean Takats in June 2019, is backed by an FNR PEARL Chair from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). Another important project, impresso (Media monitoring of the past. Mining 200 years of historical newspapers), aims to link some 140 digitised newspapers from Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Germany and to develop multilingual text-mining tools to analyse them. The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

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Critical reflection on methodological challenges

One of the C²DH’s missions is to serve as a platform for critical reflection on the methodological challenges raised by historiography in the digital age. Source criticism is one such challenge, going right to the heart of the scientific practice and profession of the historian. With the digital turn, source criticism has become all the more important. To address this issue, in 2019 Dr Gerben Zaagsma launched the lecture series “New Horizons. Confronting the digital turn in the humanities”. This lecture series aims to explore how the digital turn is changing research, teaching and dissemination in the humanities and also endeavours to historicise and contextualise this process. From 27 June to 1 July 2019, the C²DH hosted the 9th conference of the Tensions of Europe network, entitled “Decoding Europe – Technological Pasts in the Digital Age”. With contributions from renowned speakers, including Prof. Dr Aristotle Tympas from the University of Athens, Prof. Dr Bethany Nowviskie from James Madison University and Prof. Dr Niels Brügger from Aarhus University, and a series of quality debates, the conference helped consolidate the C²DH’s position as an international hub for critical reflection on methodological and epistemological challenges in the digital age.

The C²DH offers young researchers an experimental space in which different communities of practice and epistemic cultures negotiate new forms of knowledge production in the field of digital history and humanities. In 2019, 29 young researchers were working on their research projects at the Centre and two PhDs were completed, with Max Kemman becoming the first to complete a PhD at the C²DH.

Forum Z: public engagement

One of the core missions of the C²DH is to engage civil society in Luxembourg with the historical research and knowledge produced at the Centre. Forum Z (Z for Zeitgeschichte, meaning contemporary history) is a public platform for a critical and open discussion of current issues in contemporary Luxembourgish and European history. In 2019, four Forum Z events took place: “Who’s afraid of the digital?” on 31 January 2019, “Visualising history” on 15 May 2019, “Women on the march from 1919 to 2019 in Luxembourg” on 10 October 2019 and finally “From one wall to another… Connected histor(y/ies)” on 19 November 2019. From 2020 onwards, Forum Z will go transnational: the C²DH plans to organise one Forum Z a year outside Luxembourg in collaboration with partner institutions in the Greater Region.


Digital History Advanced Research Projects Accelerator
The Digital History Advanced Research Projects Accelerator (DHARPA) adds a new dimension to the research activities of the C²DH by focusing on R&D. read more


Media Monitoring of the past
Using text mining and data visualisation to open up collections of digitised historical newspapers for research. Since its launch in 2017, impresso has developed a methodologically-reflected technological framework to enable new ways of engaging with the multilingual digital content of historical newspapers and new approaches to address historical questions. read more

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. read more

Decoding Europe

Technological Pasts in the Digital Age
9th Tensions of Europe Conference The 9th Tensions of Europe conference was organised by the C²DH and held at the University of Luxembourg from 27 to 30 June 2019 read more

Shifting Practices

Digital History as Trading Zones
Under the term “digital history”, historians have experimented with tools, concepts and methods from other disciplines, mostly computer science and computational linguistics, to benefit the historical discipline. read more

Forum Z

Women on the march from 1919 to 2019 in Luxembourg
Forum Z or the interaction of the C²DH with the public The aim of the Forum Z (Z for Zeitgeschichte or contemporary history) series is to promote a critical, open debate on topical issues in contemporary Luxembourgish and European history. The hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote in Luxembourg was an anniversary not to be missed! While the National Museum of History and Art (MNHA) marked the anniversary with a major exhibition on universal suffrage, this Forum Z used it as a starting point for a broader reflection on what has changed for women over the past century. read more