Thursday, February 6, 2020

Networks of Manuscripts, Networks of Texts*

*Call for a two-day international conference organised by the ‘Innovating
Knowledge’ Project22-23 October 2020*
Huygens ING, Amsterdam

In the last decade, methods of network analysis developed by social
scientists have been increasingly applied to historical disciplines. As a
result, we have seen the emergence of new bodies of researchers working
with network analytical methods, such as Social Network Analysis Research
in the Middle Ages (SNARMA), and new journals, such as the Journal of
Historical Network Research (JHNR). Researchers studying premodern
manuscript cultures have been actively engaged with this new methodological
trend. Completed and ongoing projects make it clear that the methods of
network analysis can be applied to the study of premodern manuscripts and
manuscript texts and yield relevant and exciting results. However, it is
also clear that scholars of premodern written cultures face unique
challenges when engaging with network analysis stemming from the nature of
the material they are working with. Not all methods devised by social
scientists are applicable to manuscripts and texts, while in other cases,
established methods need to be adapted to and reinvented for new needs.
Working with large corpora of manuscripts and texts, and approaching
premodern written cultures from a quantitative perspective bring their
unique challenges to fields that have a long tradition of looking at their
subjects in small quantities and with a qualitative lens. As any young
methodological subfield, the study of premodern manuscripts and manuscript
texts using network analysis is still in an exploratory stage, with
theoretical frameworks being forged and methods tested.

This conference aims to bring together researchers applying network
analysis to premodern manuscripts and manuscript texts. We would like to
invite researchers working in all fields of premodern manuscript studies
and researchers working with manuscript texts who engage with the methods
and concepts stemming from network analysis. Key topics include, but are
not limited to, the following:

   - Theoretical reflections on the challenges and advantages of applying
   network analysis, including social network analysis, to premodern written
   -  Application of network analysis to corpora of premodern manuscripts
   and texts;
   - Network analysis as a means of understanding the circulation of texts
   and transmission of knowledge in the premodern period;
   - Quantitative study of networks of medieval book exchange and letter
   - Network analysis as a tool of textual criticism and text editing;
   - Network graphs as stemmata of texts and genres with complex textual
   - Networks of co-citation of premodern authors and authoritative texts;
   - Networks of co-occurrence and compilation of texts in medieval
   - Network analysis as a tool for the study of annotation practices and
   commentary traditions in premodern manuscript cultures;
   - Network analysis as a tool for the study of citation and reception in
   premodern manuscript cultures.

We welcome proposals in two categories: a) 30- minute full papers suitable
for presenting completed or ongoing research; and b) 20-minute exploratory
papers suitable for presenting newly started research or research proposals
that are still being developed. The second category is particularly
intended for early career researchers who are new to the field of network
analysis and wish to have their ideas tested in front of an expert audience.

A keynote by Matteo Valleriani (Max Planck Institute for the History of
Science, Berlin/Technische Universität Berlin/University of Tel Aviv) is
included on the first day of the conference.

Proposals of between 300 and 500 words should be sent to Dr Evina Steinová
at by the end of April 2020. Authors of
successful submissions will be informed by the end of June 2020 and
encouraged to submit full papers in the following months so that they can
be circulated in advance to stimulate a fruitful discussion.

The language of the conference will be English. We offer to cover the
accommodation costs for two nights and provide lunches. We also intend to
provide a small number of bursaries to speakers who may need travel

For further information, contact Dr Evina Steinová at

Please, feel free to circulate the CFP among those who may be interested.

Evina Steinova

Postdoctoral Researcher
NWO VENI project Innovating Knowledge
Huygens ING, Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam

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