Tag Archives: Research

History and the Digital – New Methodologies for Future and Present Historians. Round table.

Digital history poster copy

Programme

The seminar intends to be a discussion on the new lines of historical investigation and new methodologies that are opening with the advent of mass digital technology. Marta Musso from Archives Portal Europe and King’s College London, Jane Stevenson from Archives Hub, and Courtney Campbell from the University of Birmingham will discuss the impact of digitisation and digital-born sources on historical research.

Marta Musso will present Archives Portal Europe, the largest online portal for archival research in European archives, as a tool that introduces new possibilities for historical research on modern and contemporary European history, as well as the challenges for historians to preserve digital-born sources.

Jane Stevenson will present The Archives Hub, an aggregator for descriptions of archives held in over 320 institutions throughout the UK. The talk will introduce attendees to the work of the Archives Hub, summarise some of the benefits that it offers, and discuss the changes brought about by digital content.

Courtney Campbell will present on “Creating a Digital Archive of Brazil’s Most Endangered Historical Documents” on her experience on leading a major digitization projects in the state of Paraíba in Brazil, to ensure that historical study on Afro-Brazilian and indigenous subjects continue in this region by creating digital copies of damaged or neglected documents, and preserving them on multiple servers. In the talk she will present the many challenges we faced along the way and how we either overcame them or adapted to them.

The outcome of the seminar will be a draft of possible guidelines for historical research in the digital era. The seminar is open to graduate students and staff from any field of social sciences and humanities that utilises archival sources.

 

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Participants

 

Marta Musso is a historian and researcher in digital humanities, with a specialisation in energy policies, international trade agreements, and the relations between large companies and governments. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge, with a thesis on the development of the Algerian and European oil industry. She is currently working on the history of European energy policies and on the usage of digital-born sources for historical research. In 2016/2017 she was Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, and she is currently Teaching Fellow at King’s College London, Department of Digital Humanities. She is also Chair of EOGAN, the European Oil and Gas Archives Network.

Jane Stevenson is responsible for leading the maintenance and development of the Archives Hub. A trained archivist with over 20 years experience, Jane has expertise in archival discovery, technical interoperability standards for archival descriptions and the use of EAD. Jane has worked as a tutor in Archives and Information Studies at the University of Dundee, and has delivered many training courses for archivists and Hub contributors who wish to learn more about online archival description as well as broader technical issues such as interoperability and 2.0 technologies.

Courtney Campbell is a historian of Latin America. Her research focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazilian cultural and social history. Courtney’s current research interests are regional identity, race and representation, gender and representation, transnational consumer culture, popular culture movements, movement and migration, language-based movements, and spatial understandings of regional culture.

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Week 2 Seminar: ‘Making the Brazilian Northeast’ – Dr. Courtney J. Campbell (Birmingham)

campbell-mc-poster-copy

Abstract: In a so-called globalizing world, how have sub-national regions gained a specific sense of place and fixed cultural identity? In this seminar, I will present how the Brazilian Northeast morphed from a meteorological designation (defined by a lack of rainfall) into a cultural and social identity through an examination of international events. The seminar focuses on how Brazilians discussed the meaning of belonging to the Northeastern region from the 1920s through 1968 and how this historically specific cultural identity was both influenced by and influenced the region’s relations with the world around it. I analyze a variety of sources from both state and non-state actors to explore how ideas about the region and its meaning circulated among social groups and across international lines. To do so, I will present international events in which the region’s inhabitants engaged with the world around them, including a World Cup soccer match, beauty pageants, and even international aid agreements. Within these international events, race was often mobilized as a defining characteristic. Yet, how Brazilians talked about race and region through these events depended on the geographic scale of the discussion. Specific sub-regions of the Northeast developed uniquely Afro-Brazilian or indigenous identities, narrating their culture through particular historical events and symbolic folklore. At the national level, the region came to represent a mixed-race population whose culture curated an authentic Brazilian past, in this way adding value to the region, while also allegedly holding it back from economic progress. It was when the conversation trespassed into the international scale that anxieties about the region’s potential for representing national inferiority were expressed and it was this level of conversation that set the limits of the definitions of the Brazilian Northeast.

 

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Workshop Announcement: “(Auto)-Mobility in the Global Middle East: Defining the Field.”

Automobility Workshop Poster JPEGThe Centre for Modern & Contemporary History is hosting a research workshop on Friday 6 November, on the theme “(Auto)-Mobility in the Global Middle East: Defining the Field.”

Programme

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This one day workshop, held in the “motor city” of Birmingham, UK, a centre of car production and of expertise about (auto)-mobility, brings into conversation historians and social scientists who investigate the histories, politics, and social, visual and aesthetic meanings of (auto)-mobility, primarily across the Middle East but also in global and comparative perspective in the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

A transformative phenomenon of the twentieth century, (auto)-mobility in its various incarnations globalized unevenly after World War One, altering a variety of social practices and inflecting the wider dynamics of production and consumption. From new roads, production lines and showrooms, to traffic jams, garages, advertisements, car accidents, joy riders and (counter-) insurgency techniques, to name just a few salient aspects, motorized vehicles and the conditions they provoked altered conceptions of time, senses of place or authenticity, and the production of space.

Our title makes use of parenthesis advisedly, since regardless of whether people took the wheel, loitered at the curb, hitched a lift or crossed the road, (auto)-mobility transformed practices of gender, class, and domesticity, most notably, though not exclusively, in urban and suburban contexts. (Auto)-mobility also refigured international and regional dynamics in contexts such as pilgrimage, even as national road networks worked to produce national space, and urban roads re-segregated newly ‘historic’ inner cities and downtowns from suburbs that became both gated communities and laboratories for religious and political organization.

Via a case study or a historiographical intervention, participants will present their evaluations of the state of this burgeoning field as part of wider (auto)-mobility studies, and will engage in debate on its potential and future direction, whether as scholars of the Middle East or of other sites and networks of (auto)-mobility around the world.

The workshop will operate as a prologue and agenda-setting session for a larger conference, gathering original research, to be held at the University of Birmingham in June 2016. Please contact Simon Jackson with any questions: S.Jackson.1@bham.ac.uk

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9h: Coffee and Registration

09:30-10h: Welcome and Introductory Comments

Simon Jackson and Lucie Ryzova (University of Birmingham, History)

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10-12:30h: Panel 1: Regional Cases & Comparisons

Chair: Lucie Ryzova (University of Birmingham, History)

  • Pascal Ménoret (Brandeis, Anthropology): “Learning from Riyadh: Joyriding, Infrastructure, and Politics”
  • Frédéric Abécassis (ENS, Lyon, History): “The Creation of the Moroccan Road Network: A History”
  • David Sims (Cairo, Urban Planning/Economics): “The Private Car in Greater Cairo”

Discussants: Shane Hamilton (University of Georgia, History) & Simon Jackson (Birmingham, History)

12:30-13:30h: Lunch

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13:30-15:30h: Panel 2: Urban (Auto)-mobility between History and Social Science.

Chair: Samuel Dolbee (NYU, History/Middle East Studies)

  • Kristin Monroe (University of Kentucky, USA, Anthropology): “Driving Then and Now: The History and Anthropology of Automobility in Beirut”
  • Andrew Arsan (Cambridge, History): “On Driving – and Not Driving – in Contemporary Lebanon: Mobility, Stasis, and the Decay of the Commons”

Discussant: Sara Fregonese (Birmingham, Geography)

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15:30-16h: Coffee

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16-17:30h: Panel 3: Comparative and Global Approaches

Chair: Nathan Cardon (Birmingham, History)

  • Simon Gunn (Leicester, History): “‘The Car and the City: New Approaches to Automobility in Britain and the West”
  • Gijs Mom (Eindhoven, Industrial Engineering/History): “How to Approach Middle Eastern Mobility? Prolegomena for a Recipe”

Discussant: Frank Uekotter (Birmingham, History)

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17:30-18h: Concluding Discussion and Planning for 2016 Conference.

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19h: Drinks and Dinner

Please contact Simon Jackson with enquiries – S.Jackson.1@bham.ac.uk

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