Northeastern University’s NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, in collaboration with the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities and the Society for Military History,  invites applicants for participation in an NEH Workshop on Digital Methods for Military History, a workshop designed to help scholars whose work focuses on the history of war and warfare  to learn about and use digital methods for research. The workshop will be held October 10-11, 2014, at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

This workshop was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of “Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War.” This new NEH initiative recognizes the importance of the humanities in helping Americans to understand the experiences of service members as they return to civilian life.

What is this workshop?

This two-day workshop will introduce historians of the military and foreign policy to digital tools and methods, focusing on network analysis and mapping. Participants will learn about projects that have successfully used these methods, and then they will receive hands-on instruction to help them get started in using these methods themselves. Participants will be able to work on their own project ideas, using their own data, under the tutelage of experts in networks and mapping.

We have chosen these two methods because we believe that they are particularly suited to the study of military history. Network analysis uses charts to plot connections between people, events, or ideas–allowing the creator to visually appreciate the relations between them. Historians often use the term “network” to mean a series of links between entities, but they seldom apply the methodology of network analysis. The study of the military is all about connections–and sometimes the datasets that illuminate those connections are too large to deal with in a traditional manner. Network analysis can allow military historians to investigate and quantify these large-scale groups of connections in a much more robust way than narrative text alone.

Mapping is an important part of most military histories. Understanding how military actions occur in a specific space is a key part of understanding the whole story. Digital maps can incorporate typical spatial information such as where events happened, but also include non-geographical information such as demographic information, images, statistics, texts, and other data that are not usually attached to maps. This ability to layer geographical and non-geographical information produces a richer exploratory space for the historian, particularly since it can be created by the historian rather than by an artist or cartographer.

 

Who is eligible?

This workshop is designed primarily for historians who are interested in digital methods for their work but lack the training in actually using the tools. No previous experience with digital tools is necessary. Public history professionals and academic scholars at any point in their careers are welcome to apply.

 

We want to include a broad spectrum of historians whose work relates to the military. Military history, broadly construed, might include (in addition to traditional operational history),

  • History of foreign policy;
  • Veterans’ affairs;
  • General wartime studies;
  • Social history of the military;
  • Cultural history of the military.

We especially encourage applications from scholars who are women, persons of color, queer/LGBT, or otherwise under-represented in the field of military history. This workshop will be a welcoming and respectful space for collaboration amongst all its participants.

 

How do I apply?

The application form can be found at http://www.northeastern.edu/nulab/dmmh/application/. No previous experience with digital tools is necessary, though some basic familiarity with computers will make your time much more worthwhile. All applicants should be prepared to work on a specific project of their own during the workshop.

 

Whom should I contact for more information?

For more information, please visit our website, http://www.northeastern.edu/nulab/dmmh/.