Blogging Histories of Knowledge in the Context of Digital History

A little article about this blog that I wrote with Kerstin von der Krone is now open access. See “Blogging Histories of Knowledge in Washington, D.C.,” in “Digital History,” ed. Simone Lässig, special issue, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 47, no. 1 (2021): 163–74. The abstract reads:

The authors reflect on their experiences as the founding editors of the History of Knowledge blog. Situating the project in its specific institutional, geographical, and historiographical contexts, they highlight its role in scholarly communication and research alongside journals and books in a research domain that is still young, especially when viewed from an international perspective. At the same time, the authors discuss the blog’s role as a tool for classifying and structuring a corpus of work as it grows over time and as new themes and connections emerge from the contributions of its many authors.

Simone Lässig’s introduction to this thematic issue helps situate our blogging efforts within the broader context of digital history and the historical profession more generally. See her open access “Digital History: Challenges and Opportunities for the Profession,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 47, no. 1 (2021): 5–34.

This introductory essay presents a broad concept of digital history. Along with the themes covered in the individual articles, it surveys the major issues arising from the digitalization of the field of history. Digitalization has accelerated scholarly communication, publication, and networking. It has made many digital sources, tools, and technologies more easily accessible and has now generated born-digital materials. These changes present both new opportunities and challenges to historians, such as the uneven rates of digitized sources, the advancement of historical hermeneutics, and an increasing demand for digital resources in scholarship within reputation cultures where these remain undervalued.

This same issue also has contributions by Michael Goebel (digitization and global history); Till Grallert (Arabic press of the late Ottoman Eastern Mediterranean); Habbo Knoch (the concentration camp as a virtual reality); Torsten Hiltmann, Jan Keupp, Melanie Althage, and Philipp Schneider (text re-use analysis and medieval accounts of the conquest of Jerusalem); Svenja Goltermann and Philipp Sarasin (online magazine Geschichte der Gegenwart); and Frédéric Clavert (online social media as primary sources for historians). The last of these is also open access.

Mark Stoneman is an independent editor and historian based in Washington, DC. He is a coeditor and cofounder of this blog.