Mateusz Fafinski: The Past is not just a Graph: Doing Digital History Today

Date Range
Tue January 24th 2023, 12:00 - 1:15pm
Wallenberg 433A

The past has never seemed to be so close: it is just a click away. Recent years have brought a proliferation of data, be it manuscript images, digitised secondary literature or archaeological sources. This is an unprecedented prospect. The accessibility of this data is a promise and an opportunity. It can explode old narratives, allow marginalised communities access to their pasts, make us discover new meaningful explanations. At the same time this proliferation brings with it enormous challenges. The temptation to look for easy solutions, narratives of least resistance and easy graphs that explain everything has never been so great.  Moreover, fake histories proliferate. Is there a model that offers an alternative? How can we escape the trap of an easy graph? In this talk we will explore what tools do we have for doing contextualised digital history today.

The presentation will include lunch and take place at the Stanford Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis in Wallenberg 433A.

About the Speaker

Dr. Mateusz Fafinski is an assistant professor at the University of Erfurt. His research focuses on the interface of medieval and digital history and the adaptation of societies in the first millennium. Together with Elaine Treharne he is working on the history of textuality in two Stanford-led projects, TextTechnologies and Medieval Networks of Memory and also serves as a co-editor of the book series “Book Cultures”.