Hidden Histories: Computing and the Humanities c.1949–1980
Principal investigators: Julianne Nyhan and Anne Welsh, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Funded by: University of Trier’s Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Forschungszentrum (HKFZ)
The application of computing to the Humanities is not new and can be traced back to at least 1949, when Fr Roberto Busa began researching the creation of an index variorum of some 11 million words of medieval Latin in the works of St Thomas Aquinas and related authors. Notes and contributions towards a history of the computer in the humanities have appeared in recent years; however, our understanding of such developments remains incomplete and largely unwritten.
This project gathers and makes available sources to enable the social, intellectual and cultural conditions that shaped the early take up of computing in the Humanities to be investigated. The project draws on an interdisciplinary method bundle from Oral History, Digital Humanities and Historical-Cultural Studies. With the aim of capturing memories, observations and insights that are rarely recorded in the scholarly literature of the field it carries out interviews with ‘pioneer’ or ‘early adopter’ scholars and practitioners from c. 1949 until 1980 (that is, from main frame computing to the coming of the personal computer).
An international symposium in summer 2011 will address all aspects of the project’s methodology as well as bring together a small group of ‘early adopter’ scholars to discuss and record the early days of DH. This will be followed by online and print publications to support future research into the topic.
Introduction to Hidden Histories Project (podcast)
HIDDEN HISTORIES: SYMPOSIUM ON METHODOLOGIES FOR THE HISTORY OF COMPUTING IN THE HUMANITIES, C1949-1980
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON, 17 SEPTEMBER 2011 (Sponsored by HKFZ and UCLDH)
- Please note that attendance at the symposium is by invitation only. Places are limited so please contact us directly (Julianne Nyhan / Anne Welsh) if you would like to attend.
- Opening Keynote: Beyond chronology and profession: discovering how to write a history of the Digital Humanities,
Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London; Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney.
- Knowledge Spaces and Digital Humanities, Claudine Moulin, Universitaet Trier, Germany
- Unwriting the history of Humanities Computing, Edward Vanhoutte, Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature - Ghent, Belgium
- Crowd sourcing: beyond the traditional, boundaries of academic history, Melissa Terras, Dept. Information Studies, UCL
- Different stories to be lived and told: recovering Lehmann James Oppenheimer (1868-1916) for the narrative of the Irish Arts & Crafts movement (1894-1925), James G.R. Cronin, School of History & Centre for Adult Continuing Education, University College Cork, Ireland.
- Oral History and acts of recovery: humanizing history?, Andrew Flinn, Dept. Information Studies, UCL
- Lost origins of Information Science, Vanda Broughton, Dept. Information Studies, UCL
- Plus ça change: a historical perspective on the institutional context of Digital Humanities,
Claire Warwick, Dept. Information Studies, UCL
- (Virtual presentation) DH pioneers and progeny: some reflections on generational accomplishment and engagement in the Digital Humanities, Ray Siemens, Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria
- Closing Keynote Data vs. Text: forty years of confrontation, Lou Burnard, Oxford University Computing Services (Emeritus)
- Discussion: towards an oral history of Computing in the Humanities, Chaired by Anne Welsh and Julianne Nyhan, Dept. Information Studies, UCL
Podcasts / videos of some lectures will be posted in due course.
Please note: This is a holding page while our project website is under construction. Please check the UCLDH blog for the latest project news.