CFP: Digitizing Enlightenment II

Radboud University, Nijmegen (The Netherlands) in cooperation with the Dutch-Belgian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (Werkgroep 18e eeuw)



15-16 June 2017

Scholars of the Enlightenment are currently developing some of the most innovative and transformative digital humanities projects in the field. These have included both established and internationally recognized projects such as Electronic Enlightenment; Mapping the Republic of Letters; the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE); and the ARTFL Encyclopédie project; as well as newer initiatives such as the Reassembling the Republic of Letters COST Action and the Middlebrow Enlightenment: Disseminating Ideas, Authors and Texts in Europe 1665 – 1820 (MEDIATE) project, all of which will be discussed at this symposium.

The symposium – the second in a series of yearly symposia to be held at various venues (the first was held at Western Sydney University in July 2016) – will provide an opportunity for leaders, key participants and early stage researchers on these and more recent digital humanities initiatives to enter into a dialogue with each other and the wider academic community about the ways in which their projects have transformed, and will continue to transform research practice, pedagogy and academic understandings in eighteenth-century studies and beyond.

We invite paper proposals for the following themed conference sessions:

Session One: Projects, Concepts and Technologies: Participants in digital humanities projects (partly) addressing the eighteenth century will discuss how they came about, what they aimed to achieve, their conceptual framework and new questions and methods made possible by the use of sophisticated digital humanities instruments. In addition, individual presentations will discuss some of the major technical issues projects face, and the most productive technologies, research techniques and methodologies that they have developed and used in the course of their digital work, as well as the importance of lessons learned in the process.

Session Two: Beyond the Eighteenth Century: Individual presentations will discuss innovative pedagogical, research and public engagement in uses of the new digital technologies and resources produced by digital humanities projects focusing on the eighteenth century and the ways in which research on these projects or through the resources they have produced can transform the research field beyond eighteenth-century studies. In particular, this session will explore potential collaborations between current eighteenth-century projects and other digital humanities projects that, while focusing on other time periods or sources, ask some of the same questions and face some of the same (technical, standardization) issues.

Session Three: Sustainability, Strategic Partnerships, and Funding: Individual presentations will address the issues of sustainability all digital projects face post-funding and collaborations beyond the university – in particular with institutions such as national libraries, crowdsourcing initiatives, and international collaborations – that they have developed in order to ensure the continued growth and modernization of projects.

Session Four: Publishing in the Age of Digital Humanities: As digital humanities scholarship advances our access to the texts, images, geo-spatial data, even soundscapes of the past, scholars search for new modes of expression to make use of these digital tools. Yet we remain drawn to arguments expressed through narrative prose – and thus to books. This working session will explore how humanities monographs can and should develop in the age of digital humanities. Specifically, it will also map out design elements of a website companion to the Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, the Voltaire Foundation’s 60-year-established series. How can scholars use digital humanities and print hybrid publication to convey scholarly argument, not just data or analytics?

Closing Round Table: Visions and Revisions: In this Round table discussion invited participants will assess the present and future impact of digital humanities on eighteenth-century studies and digital scholarship more generally, future collaborative possibilities, and the ways in which digital technologies and new hybrid and digital publishing practices are transforming wider research and teaching culture, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing digital humanists.

Confirmed speakers for the Digitizing Enlightenment symposium include:

 *   Gregory Brown (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, University of Nevada)

*   Simon Burrows and Jason Ensor (FBTEE, Western Sydney University)

*   Marie Louise Coolahan (RECIRC, NUI Galway)

*   Howard Hotson (Reassembling the Republic of Letters, University of Oxford)

*   Marjan Lefferts (Consortium of European Research Libraries)

*   Alicia Montoya (MEDIATE, Radboud University Nijmegen)

*   Robert Morrissey (ARTFL, University of Chicago)

*   Glenn Roe (Electronic Enlightenment, Australian National University)

*   Mark Towsey (Community Libraries network, University of Liverpool)

Please submit your paper proposal (300 words + short bio-bibliographical statement) by February 15, 2017, to both Alicia Montoya, and Simon Burrows,

It is expected that papers from the symposium will form the backbone of a peer-reviewed book and / or hybrid publication.


MPCE Launch, SHARP, Newcastle, and New Postdoc

Introductory note from Project Director Simon Burrows: Regular readers of this blog will have noticed the loving makeover it has received in recent weeks from Katie McDonough. She, other MPCE project partners, and of course myself (until now I have run the blog solo), will all henceforth be collaboratively posting updates, workshop announcements, and other news here. We look forward to using this blog to reflect on the process of growing a DH project. Add us to your feed, or follow Katie on Twitter (@khetiwe24) to get the latest updates. Welcome to the MPCE journey.

The month of July was a busy one for the Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment (MPCE) project. In conjunction with the 20th George Rudé Seminar held at Western Sydney University, Simon Burrows and Jason Ensor officially opened the next phase of FBTEE. From a database and suite of visualization tools based only on the archive of the STN, FBTEE will transform into a digital archive for a range of bibliometric data with new visualization options and links to other 18th c. DH projects. And this is just one piece of the MPCE project. In summary, the five strands of the project are:

  1. Piracy and Publishing in Pre-Revolutionary France;
  2. The Illegal Book Trade Revisited;
  3. Mapping the French Novel;
  4. Connecting Cultural Datasets;
  5. Conceptual Assessment of Digital Humanities Techniques.

Over the next several months, we will be updating the MPCE site with recent publications, partnership announcements, researcher bios, and tutorials. Stay tuned.

About our acronyms: “FBTEE” refers to the original database and project on the French book trade in Enlightenment Europe. “MPCE” is the umbrella project supporting updates to FBTEE, the creation of new databases for European book history, and other intellectual work related to 18th c. DH studies.

Late July was filled with SHARP 2016 in Paris and meetings in the Netherlands (in particular with Alicia Montoya and her project collaborators at Radboud University). The SHARP panel brought together several MCPE partners and highlighted our ongoing work to produce a digital edition of the Bibliographie  du Genre Romanesque Français.

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At SHARP 2016: “Mapping the French Novel” Panel

In August, the team travelled to the University of Newcastle to deliver a seminar on MPCE. Thanks to our host Kate Ariotti and the History@Newcastle Research Seminar for the opportunity to share our work in progress and discuss possible collaborations.

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At Newcastle: Jason Ensor describing the process of extracting records from 1980s software for a database of 18th c. French novels.

Looking forward, we are happy to announce that the second postdoc for MPCE will touch down in Australia in September. Dr. Laure Philip completed her Masters and PhD at the University of Warwick in the UK. Her background is in Eighteenth-Century Studies, with a particular focus on the French Revolution and the British-French relationships during the 1790s. Her thesis, supervised by Katherine Astbury, took a more literary turn, exploring the prose and memoirs of three women exiles in London in the 1790s.

Dr. Philip will work with us on the strand of the project entitled ‘The Illegal Book Trade Revisited.’ Her expertise on the French novel in the long eighteenth century will be valuable to exploring the geographical structure of the trade and its relative thematic composition, in order to discern the prevalence of Enlightenment philosophie in comparison with other illegal genres. We look forward to welcoming her next month.

Report on Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium

The Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium was held from 12-13 July, 2016 at Western Sydney University. Convened with the collaboration of  Glenn Roe (ANU), the Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium brought together venerable and youthful, big and small, personal and collaborative digital humanities projects that focused on 18th-century France. The meeting preceded the “launch” of the ARC project “Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment” at Western Sydney University during the 20th George Rudé Seminar.

Along with Glenn Roe, Simon Burrows, Jason Ensor, and Katie McDonough welcomed participants for the first instance of a series of meetings for scholars who engage with DH as they study and teach the French 18th century.

Simon Burrows presenting on plans for FBTEE 3.0

Day one included presentations from the major 18th c. French DH projects such as ARTFL, Electronic Enlightenment, Mapping the Republic of Letters, the Comédie Française Registers Project (with its predecessor CESAR), and the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe.

We continued with introductions to new projects such as Alicia Montoya’s “Middlebrow Enlightenment”/MEDIATE and a digital edition of all 18th c. French romanesque works (the third generation, if you will, of this work).

Continue reading “Report on Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium”