Digital HISTORY AND THEORY, ​​​​an open conversation on the future of digital scholarship

This illustration featured in the poster above is by Khyati Trehan, an Indian graphic designer and 3D visual artist based in New York. As part of Trehan’s “Digital Biology” series, the illustration “uses scaffolding as a metaphor for AI’s quest in unearthing the underlying logic and structure of complex organic matter” (via Unsplash). For more about this image and to see Trehan’s other work, visit Trehan’s page on the Visualising AI website and Trehan’s website.

Zoom link to join symposium:

On March 3 – 4, 2023, History and Theory, partnering with Brown University Library, will bring the contributors to the December 2022 theme issue, “Digital History and Theory: Changing Narratives, Changing Methods, Changing Narrators,” together for an open exchange inspired by their contributions but focused on the ways to make that change happen now. Digital history has provided us with an incredible array of tools for acquiring and processing data, but critical theoretical reflections have been few and widespread imaginative historical innovations are scarce. The tools have changed, and the possibilities have changed, but the discipline of history is in danger of using them to simply replicate its old ways. Of course, in the end, it is not the tools that will lead to a change; it is ideas and imagination. 

At #DigitalHT2023, our contributors will reflect on their past work and offer concrete suggestions as to how the digital can change the way we research, write, and teach about the past—that is, the way we do history.

Registration – In-person and Zoom options

The in-person event will be held at the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), Rockefeller Library, Brown University (1st floor, 10 Prospect St, Providence, RI 02910).

Registration for in-person attendance required. We kindly request a courtesy registration for online attendance. Register here.

Presented by History and Theory and Brown University Library, with support from Brown University’s Department of History and Cogut Institute for the Humanities.

Full event details at History and Theory.


Friday, March 3

1:45 p.m. – Symposium Opening Welcome: Ethan Kleinberg, Editor-in-Chief History and Theory, Wesleyan University

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. – Panel 1

Chair: Ethan Kleinberg, Editor-in-Chief, History and Theory

  • Stefan Tanaka, “History as Communication, Part 2”
  • Stephen Robertson, “History Unbound: From Book Discipline to Digital Discipline”

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Panel 2

Chair: Courtney Weiss Smith, Associate Editor, History and Theory

  • Marnie Hughes-Warrington, “Machine Historians and Selection” (virtual)
  • David Gary Shaw, “Beyond Digital History”

Dinner: Independent

Saturday, March 4

8:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast

9:15 a.m. – Welcome: Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian

9:30 – 11 a.m. – Panel 3

Chair: Courtney Weiss Smith, Associate Editor, History and Theory

  • Shahzad Bashir, “Theorizing History beyond the Codex Form”
  • Christian Wachter, TBD (virtual)
  • Laura K. Morreale, “Finding Stories: The Radical Promise of Digital History”

11:15 am–12:15 pm, Panel 4

Chair: Valeria López Fadul, Assistant Editor, History and Theory

  • Jesse W. Torgerson, “Historical Data: Publish (It) or Perish”
  • Silke Schwandt, “Going Virtual: How Does the Potential of Interactive Scenarios Influence the Way We Do History in the 21st Century?” (virtual)

12:15 – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch Break

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. – Panel 5

Chair: Matthew Specter, Associate Editor, History and Theory

  • Wulf Kansteiner, TBD (virtual)
  • Esther Wright, “Video Games and the Margins of Digital History” (virtual)

3 – 4 p.m. – Wrap-Up Session

Chair: Ethan Kleinberg, Editor-in-Chief, History and Theory

4 – 5:30 p.m. – Reception (on-site)

6:30 p.m. – Dinner (offsite, for participants)