Today I’m excited to hear that historian Benjamin G. Martin is giving a talk here in Uppsala on January 23rd. It is titled: The Culture of International Society: A Digital Humanities Approach to the History of International Ideas. With degrees from University of Chicago and Columbia University, he now works at the Department of History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University. I think there could be a lot to learn from his presentation, not at least about the use of digital methods.
For those curious to know more about his current project, he describes it like this:
Treaties are a standard tool of diplomacy and a major source of international law. Over the centuries, different treaty types have been developed to address different issues. After World War I, treaties began to be systematically applied to the world of cultural relations among nations and states. In my current project, I seek to use cultural treaties—the bi-lateral or multilateral agreements among states that promote and regulate cooperation and exchange in the fields of life defined as “cultural”—as a source for examining the role played by the idea of culture in the international sphere during the twentieth century. In collaboration with Umeå University’s HUMlab, I use digital methods to analyze these sources, including quantitative analysis of treaty data as well as computerized text analysis of the treaties’ content. In this presentation I will give an overview of the project, focusing on our use of digital methods, and outlining some of the results (and the challenges!) we have encountered so far.