Historical Networks – Réseaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke 2021

Conference at the University of Luxembourg

The Historical Network Research community and the group Réseaux et Histoire (ResHist) are very pleased to announce the call for papers for the Historical Networks – Réseaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke conference which will take place at the University of Luxembourg, from Wednesday 30 June until Friday 2 July, 2021. The conference will run over three days opening with a workshop day and two conference days. We hope that the participants will be able to meet in person. Depending on the course of the Covid19 pandemic, the conference will be either realised as a hybrid (on-site + remote attendance and presentation) or a full online event. The decision about the format will be announced on 15 March, 2021.

Note that if your proposal has already been accepted for HNR2020, it is still accepted for the 2021 conference. You may however, if you like, submit an updated version of your abstract which will not have to undergo review a second time.

Social network analysis theories and methods have emerged as a persuasive extension of purely metaphorical uses of network concepts in historical research. The HNR and the ResHist conference series explore the challenges and possibilities of network research in historical scholarship and serve as a platform for researchers from various disciplines to meet, present and discuss their latest research findings and to demonstrate tools and projects.

The Historical Networks – Réseaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke conference will be the first trilingual event in the field. The presenters will either speak English or offer extended abstract or slides in English, but those who wish to will be able to use French or German in presentations and discussions. The organizers and chairs will facilitate trilingual discussions.

The Historical Network Research community has its roots in the year 2009 when the first in a series of workshops on the application of network analysis in the historical disciplines took place. In 2019, the thirteenth workshop on „Networks Across Time and Space: Methodological Challenges and Theoretical Concerns of Network Research in the Humanities“ was hosted by the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, Germany. For 2019, the originally planned conference had to be postponed due to Covid-19; instead, Marieke van Erp, Ruth Ahnert, and Petter Holme held their already confirmed keynotes in the form of a virtual keynote event. The presentations can still be viewed on the HNR youtube channel. The year 2017 saw the publication of the inaugural issue of the Open Access Journal of Historical Network Research (www.jhnr.uni.lu). JHNR is devoted to the study of networks (social or otherwise) from a specifically historical perspective and encourages the exchange between different areas of historical research (in the broadest sense), the (digital) humanities at large as well as the social, information and computer sciences. These events and activities are supplemented by the website Historical Network Research (www.historicalnetworkresearch.org), which provides a bibliography, a calendar of events and an email newsletter.

The French-speaking group ResHist (reshist.hypotheses.org) has similarly organized five conferences. In Nice in 2013, historians studying all periods and topics, seasoned practitioners of network analysis as well as (mostly) beginners met for the first time. In Toulouse in 2014, invited speakers came from countries other than France; in Paris in 2015, they came from disciplines other than history. In each case, the general idea was to have them meet historians based in France who considered using or had only begun to use network analysis, be they doctoral students or more experienced researchers. Back in Nice, in 2016, the fourth conference focused on the question of sources – where to find information on past networks, and how to take into account the peculiarities of sources in network research. In Rennes, in 2018, presentations and discussions focused on entities – persons, and others ones (names of Gods, for example). We study networks, yes, but between whom/what exactly? It was also the first ResHist conference accompanied by a two-day workshop for beginners. In Aix-en-Provence in 2021, the main topic will be two-mode networks and a second beginners workshop will be organized.

For our joint 2021 conference, we welcome submissions for individual contributions discussing any historical period and geographical area. Authors may be historians, linguists, librarians, archaeologists, art historians, computer scientists, social scientists as well as scholars from other disciplines working with historical or archaeological data. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Cultural and intellectual networks
  • Geospatial networks                  
  • Citizen science, crowdsourcing and other forms of public engagement
  • Networks extracted from texts
  • Networks and prosopography
  • Methodological contributions with immediate relevance for Historical Network Research such as missing data, temporality, multilayer networks, ontologies, linked data
  • Pedagogy, teaching, and digital literacy in Historical Network Research


Two confirmed keynotes will be delivered by Marion Maisonobe (CNRS, Paris) and Matteo Valeriani (MPIWG, Berlin). The third keynote will be confirmed shortly.


Participants are invited to take part in one or two of four half-day-workshops. Two of the workshops will be aimed at beginners, two at advanced practitioners of network analysis.  Workshop titles will be announced shortly.


For this event we welcome three types of proposals: (1) individual papers; (2) software/tool demonstrations and (3) posters. Abstracts should clearly state the title, name and affiliation of the authors and the presenters; if you have one please include your Twitter username, too.

Key dates

15.01.2021: deadline for submissions via Easychair
15.03.2021: notification of acceptance
01.04.2021: registration opening
25.06.2021: latest possible registration for participants
30.06-02.07.2021: conference (1 day workshops, 2 days sessions)
15.07.2020: invitation of selected articles to JHNR

Further information on the workshops will be provided shortly on the conference website and in the HNR slack channel (invite link: https://join.slack.com/t/hnr-gang/shared_invite/zt-erd4n2wg-OKYZy951_CSN1xrYVGrUXA).

See the Call for Papers (Link)


Historical Networks – Réseaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke 2021