Category Archives: Events

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COST Digital Humanities Conference: Reassembling the Republic of Letters

UPDATE 16/03/2015: Registration now closed. Watch this space for news of the new COST website.

We are delighted to announce that limited spaces for members of the public have now been released for the forthcoming conference of the COST Action ‘Reassembling the Republic of Letters’! We’d love to see you there!

Conference: Reassembling the Republic of Letters, COST Action Digital Humanities Conference
Date: 12pm Sunday 22nd – Monday 23rd March 2015
Location: St Anne’s College, University of Oxford
Registration fee: £16
Programme: COST_Conference-Programme_22-23March2015

In order for non-Action members to attend the conference, you must sign up via the link above by Friday 13th March 2015 and must pay the mandatory refreshments fee of £16 to cover lunches and refreshments. You are welcome to purchase the Sunday conference dinner or Monday buffet dinner, and limited accommodation at St Anne’s is also available – please purchase asap via the link above. Please indicate on the registration form if you are not intending to stay for both days, however, the refreshments fee is a subsided flat rate for all delegates, regardless of whether attending for the full 1 1/2 days. Additional accommodation options can be found at

As of March 2015, 30 countries have joined the COST Action, and over 70 representatives from the fields of history, literature, archival study, digital humanities, IT, librarianship, editing, and design will be gathering in Oxford for the network event. Come and join the conversation!

Further details on the COST network: Between 1500 and 1800, the evolution of postal communications enhanced the capacity of ordinary men and women to scatter correspondence across and beyond Europe. This epistolary exchange helped knit together an imagined community known to contemporaries as the ‘republic of letters’, an international, knowledge-based civil society, crucial to that era’s intellectual breakthroughs, and formative of many of modern Europe’s values and institutions. Ironically, the exchange of letters which created this community also dispersed the documentation required to study it, posing enormous difficulties for historians of the subject ever since. The key insight of this project is that the ongoing revolution in digital communications can provide a fresh solution to the scholarly problems created by the previous evolution of postal communications. This project is therefore dedicated to designing open-access and open-source digital infrastructure capable of facilitating the radically multilateral collaboration needed to reassemble this scattered documentation and to support a new generation of scholarly methods and research questions.

Further details on the event: This multi-faceted event combines Working Group meetings and a public-facing two-day conference, with the aim of providing all participants with a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of current developments relevant to the network. Running alongside these, a digital humanities Training School will induct newcomers into the current state of the field. The conference is composed of a series of brief ‘flash presentations’, which present problems or developing solutions relevant to some of the key items in each Working Group’s agenda. Please see the conference programme above.

Please note that members of the public can only attend the Conference (i.e. 12pm on Sunday 22nd to the end of Monday 23rd), and not the Training School or Action meetings.

Please direct any queries to cost[at]

The Practice of Scholarly Communication: Correspondence networks between Central and Western Europe, 1550-1700

Workshop report by Dr Robin Buning.

More than five years after the workshop Apocalypticism, Millenarianism, and Prophecy: Eschatological Expectations between East-Central and Western Europe, 1560-1670 in January 2009, which was the first event of the Cultures of Knowledge project, Prague was again the scene of a two-day conference on intellectual networks.

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The Digital Humanist: Open Resources, Shared Standards, Virtual Communities

The Cultures of Knowledge 2014 Michaelmas seminar series begins Monday 20th October! In case you haven’t seen the posters or email announcements yet, we hereby invite you to join us for this term’s seminar series, The Digital Humanist: Open Resources, Shared Standards, Virtual Communities. The set of five talks will be held on Mondays at 5.15pm, at the History Faculty in Oxford, and all are welcome to come to the seminar and join us for a glass of wine in the common room afterwards.

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2013 Lunchtime Seminars on Negotiating Networks: Programme Available!

We are excited to announce our schedule of 2013 Lunchtime Seminars. Themed ‘Negotiating Networks: Six Case Studies’, the series brings together nine researchers from six projects bringing innovative digital techniques and fresh conceptual frameworks to bear on communities of association, especially of an epistolary flavour, from various time periods. Starting on Thursday 31 October (Week 3), seminars will take place every Thursday at 1pm throughout Michaelmas Term in the conference room of the Oxford e-Research Centre on Keble Road (with the exception of the session on 21 November, which will be held at St Anne’s College). And, as it’s lunchtime, sandwiches and refreshments will be provided free of charge to all attendees. All are welcome; hope to see you there!

Digital Prosopographies Workshop: Podcasts and Slides Now Available

Podcasts, slides, and brief write-ups from our recent workshop on Digital Prosopographies: Case Studies in Online Collective Biography (Monday 29 July, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford) are now available in our Resources section. Predicated on the idea that the insights and methodologies of prosopography – or, the ‘investigation of the… characteristics of a historical group’ – underpins much social network analysis, the event brought together eight European projects to explore case studies, standards, and best practices relating to the electronic capture and representation of people, biographies, social and professional relationships, and their underlying sources. Findings will feed into the development of a more sophisticated prosopographical toolset within Early Modern Letters Online and the development of a series of prosopographical visualizations, focusing in the first instance on the epistolary communities around Samuel Hartlib and Jan Amos Comenius, in 2014.

20,000 Dutch Letters Now Online: CKCC Launch the ePistolarium

Our great friends and colleagues at Circulation of Knowledge and Learned Practices in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic (CKCC), based at Huygens ING, have just launched their virtual research environment for Dutch scientific correspondences, the wonderful ePistolarium. This major new resource contains metadata on and full texts of around 20,000 letters sent to and from nine seventeenth-century scholars (including René Descartes, Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens, and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek), and is equipped with faceted search, a neat visualization suite (results can be displayed on timelines, maps, and as both correspondent and co-citation network diagrams), as well as some bleeding edge techniques in corpus linguistics such as named entity recognition and topic modelling. Check it out!

The ePistolarium was launched in the magnificent Gertrudiskapel in Utrecht on 13 June 2013, and, alongside presentations from its creators (and a terrific video), our very own Howard Hotson was on hand to celebrate this new tool and to consider its relationship to Early Modern Letters Online as well as its significance to scholarship on correspondences more broadly (a video of his talk, entitled ‘The ePistolarium and the Digital Republic of Letters: The Circulation of Knowledge and Learned Practices in the Twenty-First Century’, is above). Indeed, these are exciting times for the Digital Republic of Letters in general and the relationship between our two initiatives in particular; we’re going to share metadata, are co-applicants with other interested parties on major funding proposals to COST and Digging into Data, and will be sharing the stage at several forthcoming events, most imminently (with Antony McKenna) at our panel on ‘Electrifying the Republic of Letters’ at Intellectual Networks in the Long Seventeenth Century at Durham next week. Congratulations to Charles, Guido, Walter, Wijnand, and the rest of the CKCC team!

Celtic Connections: Roderick O’Flaherty’s Letters Published

Richard (third left) presents a copy of the edition to the Irish President (second left) at at a reception at Aras an Uachtarain earlier this week.

We are excited to announce the publication by the Royal Irish Academy of Roderick O’Flaherty’s Letters to William Molyneux, Edward Lhwyd, and Samuel Molyneux: 1696-1709, edited by Professor of Diplomatic at Oxford (and CofK Steering Committee member) Richard Sharpe. A copy of the edition was presented to Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, earlier this week.

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Detail from Portrait of Cornelis de Bie at age 81, by Hendrik Frans Diamaer. 1695–1726, engraving (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).

Intellectual Networks in the Long Seventeenth Century: Booking Open

Booking is open for Intellectual Networks in the Long Seventeenth Century, a conference taking place at Durham University on 30 June2 July 2013 under the auspices of Durham’s Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies. The event explores the many novel varieties of intellectual exchange which emerged across Europe and the Atlantic world during the early modern period, and in particular promises to be 2013’s foremost feast of learned epistolarity. Among several great-looking sessions on correspondence, our very own Howard Hotson will be delivering a keynote talk on ‘Electrifying the Via Lucis: Communications Technologies and Republics of Letters, Past, Present and Future’, while we will be participating on a panel entitled ‘Electrifying the Republic of Letters’ with our good friends Professor Antony McKenna from St Etienne (Correspondance de Pierre Bayle) and Professor Charles van den Heuvel from Huygens ING (Circulation of Knowledge and Learned Practices in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic). Further details and programme on the conference webpage, while here’s the booking form. Hope to see you there!