01. September 2022
The joint project SocialMediaHistory of the Universities of Bochum and Hamburg is organising an online conference on "#History on Social Media - Sources, Methods, Ethics" from 11 to 12 November 2022.
Abstracts (500 words) and a short biography (max 100 words) can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 21, 2022.
"What we know about our society, indeed about the world we live in, we know through the internet." This - or rather similar - is how Niklas Luhmann's dictum about the connection between the creation of knowledge and the use of media could be further developed. With regard to the acquisition of knowledge about history, Hannes Burkhardt recently stated that the "relevance of the internet for the visualisation of the past can hardly be overestimated today" (Burkhardt 2021: 13). This is especially true for social media, whose low production and access barriers have led to a multiplication of history-related content, actors and practices (König 2020).
The influence of digital transformation on historical narratives and education has already been addressed in many historical sub-disciplines for several years. However, social media are often used only as a non-specific example in the field of digital media and appear as an umbrella term for all platforms without taking into account their specifics, formats and target groups. Due to limited (API) access to data, media-specific studies have so far often focused on text-based platforms such as Twitter or Wikipedia. With a few exceptions, audiovisual social media in particular have not yet been extensively studied from a historical perspective. However, considering the emerging volumes of data, this seems to apply to social media in general, which are currently viewed primarily through qualitative approaches. Here, a focus on "history as big data" or automated quantitative analyses still offers potential for future studies.
On a research-pragmatic level, it is evident that the connection of historical narratives to global corporations and data structures leads to a "shift of sources from document to data" (Fickers 2013: 157) and technical, ethical and legal challenges. Above all this concerns the accessibility, archivability and (automated) analysis of digital history as well as the question of how to use personal social media data when basic principles such as information obligation, voluntariness or anonymisation are not (or cannot) be fulfilled in most cases.
The conference will therefore focus on social media in historical research, with particular attention to theories, methods, sources and ethics:
Possible topics, e.g.
Submissions can address several questions or focus on individual aspects. Interdisciplinary approaches on individual aspects such as archiving, scraping or ethics e.g. from (historical) communication research, media studies, ethnology, digital humanities or archival studies are explicitly encouraged.
The conference will take place online via Zoom on 11 and 12 November 2022.
On both days, we want to take a look at the significance of social media for historical research as well as research pragmatic approaches. We therefore welcome proposals for empirical case studies as well as theoretical or methodological contributions and problem outlines on various social media. Depending on the topic, we put special emphasis on the reflection of data access, methods, identification of problem areas as well as possible solutions.
Following the conference, selected contributions will be published in a handbook.
Proposals for a 15-20 minute presentation in English can be sent to email@example.com by September 21, 2022 (abstracts of max. 500 words + short bio of max. 100 words). Applicants will receive feedback by the end of September.
The Call for Participation for attendance without a presentation will be published in October together with the programme.
Mia Berg, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Andrea Lorenz, Universität Hamburg