By Sarah Davenport, on 7 May 2013
How did the large and cultural powerful countries Britain, France, and Germany influence public debates in smaller countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg?
Cultural historians and digital humanists at UCL and the universities of Utrecht and Trier will address this question in the new research project Asymmetrical Encounters: E-Humanity Approaches to Reference Cultures in Europe, 1815–1992‘ for which they have been awarded a grant of €1 million by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area). In the UK, Ulrich Tiedau (UCL Dutch/Digital Humanities) will be the Principal Investigator.
The project will explore cultural aspects of European identity and how reference cultures have changed over the course of the past two centuries. Using innovative digital techniques the project team will mine and analyse digital collections of the National Library of the Netherlands, the British Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg and other European libraries with large repositories of digitised newspapers and periodicals. Text mining and sentiment mining open up the perspective of a quantitative approach to the history of mentalities, allowing researchers to discover long-term developments and turning points in public debates, as well as to map vectors of cross-cultural influences.
HERA is a collaboration between the AHRC and twenty other European research funding organizations, with the aim to stimulate the collaboration between leading research institutions in Europe. This year funding was made available for new and exciting humanities-centred projects on the theme “Cultural Encounters”.