Institutional Data Shaping Digital History

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Project type
MIT-Czech Republic Seed Fund
Year of start
Year of completion
Researcher in MÚA
Jan Vondráček
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Masarykův ústav a Archiv AV ČR

For some years now, historiography has been in a state of crisis. At many universities, the subject is increasingly being integrated into cultural studies. Cultural approaches work primarily with ego documents such as diaries, oral histories or letters. As a result, classical administrative and institutional sources such as official documents, register books, regulations and protocols hardly find their way into scholarship, which is primarily oriented towards the history of experience. At the same time, knowledge is increasingly shifting into the digital space.

The aim of the collaboration is to link the classical historiography and its sources with the new methods of the digital age, which are successfully used in other fields. By applying this novel approach, overlooked administrative sources will become accessible for research and can provide different perspectives that can be communicated to a general scientific public beyond classical text-based narratives.

The goal is on the one hand to find and discuss new ways to make the large amount of administrative/institutional sources that every modern state produces accessible and usable. On the other hand, new approaches to the analysis of these source types using new methods of the Digital Humanities such as Machine Learning, Historical GIS and Artificial Intelligence will be tested for answering questions related to class, race and gender. Thus, not only can completely new insight be gained into structures of rule and power of the state, but the project has the potential to make completely new aspects of the everyday life of the population accessible.

Loading the web debug toolbar…
Attempt #