Digital Humanities, Gender studies, History, Media studies, Performance Studies, Social anthropology, Sociology

Course date

18 January - 26 February, 2021
Application deadline
1 November, 2020
Course Director(s): 

Jessie Labov

Center for Media, Data and Society, Central European University/Academic and Institutional Development, McDaniel College Budapest, Hungary

Piotr Wciślik

Digital Humanities Centre at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CHC IBL PAN), Warsaw, Poland
Course Faculty: 

Pim van Bree

Lab1100, The Hague, The Netherlands

Estelle Bunout

Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH)

Andrew Janco

Haveford College, USA

Geert Kessels

Lab1100, The Hague, The Netherlands

Maciej Maryl

Digital Humanities Centre at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CHC IBL PAN), Warsaw, Poland

Julia Perczel

Department of Network and Data Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Tamás Scheibner

Department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest, Hungary
The course is co-hosted by the Blinken Open Society Archives, CEU’s progressive hub for digital Cold War history and a natural home for scholarship conducted in this area. Our first 2019 course already based its demo datasets on digitized content from the Blinken OSA collections: records of the Radio Free Europe research institute, and of RFE’s telex communication between New York and Munich in the 1960s. There are a lot of training schools in digital humanities methods around the world, but very few which are so focused on a particular subject area and dedicated to building collaborative digital history projects around a discrete set of topics. By basing our course and its follow-up activities at Blinken OSA, we aim to seed a new wave of digital history projects that revolve around Cold War history and oppositional cultures. 
 
The course is co-sponsored by the COST Action NEP4DISSENT ("New Exploratory Phase in Research on East European Cultures of Dissent”), relying on the expertise of its Working Group 5, whose aim is to facilitate a transfer of knowledge and know-how between digital humanities practitioners and scholars in dissident studies.
 

Course Rationale

 
We aim to develop a strong cohort of scholars of East European cultures of dissent who are fluent with the concepts and practices of digital history, and interested in carrying out larger-scale, possibly collaborative projects in the future.
 
Our goal is to find new ways of leveraging technology to strengthen research networks and incubate collaborative scholarship as the first step in a larger project: to develop a stand-alone training module that could support future self-guided interactions for specialists in this area. Eventually, such a resource would allow researchers with intersecting interests in Cold War-era cultures of dissent to learn about digital approaches to the field, broader conceptual problems in digital history, and then specific, skill-based techniques to integrate their own sources and collections of materials into a network of related projects. 
 

Course Format

 
As a very first step towards that goal, we offer a 6-week online course from early January through mid-February 2021.
 
Week 1 - Intensive, interactive, synchronous meetings 
 
The first week will feature short, interactive documentaries containing both overviews of the field of digital history and skill-based demo sessions. Participants will be responsible for working through the first part of each lesson on their own.  As a follow-up, we will hold live, synchronous ‘teach-in’ meetings in which faculty will elaborate on some of the points provided in the lesson, as well as answer specific questions. Participants are expected to spend the afternoon working individually or in small groups online through applications of each instance. 
 
Week 2-6 – mostly self-guided learning supplemented by one-on-one tutorials and one weekly group meeting on Fridays 
 
After the first, intensive week of the course, we will turn to a more self-guided mode, and participants will start to experiment/test drive both the demo datasets and their own datasets through different methods, using different tools (breakout sessions continued). Faculty will be available for one-on-one support, guidance, and feedback as needed in a tutorial structure. Each Friday, we will meet as a group synchronously to report on steps taken, show progress, troubleshoot issues that are coming up across projects (feedback sessions). 
 
On the last Friday of the course, in mid-February, participants will present their projects via synchronous videoconference. 
 
This format will be well suited to incubate DH projects, creating space, in addition to acquiring new skills, for employing these skills in supervised tinkering with data.
 
The size of the cohort will be 20-25, with a 1:3 faculty/student ratio, and different faculty responsible for various aspects of the course. 
 
All material produced for this course and/or a sustainable stand-alone module will be made available via open access platforms and repositories, and all datasets (which do not consist of private, personal, or protected data) will be shared as well.