New Approaches, Opportunities and Epistemological Implications of Undertaking Research with Citizen Scholars

26. - 28. Oktober, Konferenz, DHI Washington

This event seeks to assess through international dialogue the state-of-the-art in the use of community-sourcing, crowdsourcing, citizen science and other public-based collaborative approaches to create historical knowledge. The development of dynamic internet-based technologies has allowed researchers not only to share their work with broader audiences, but to involve publics in the processes of knowledge creation. This event is intended as an opportunity to reflect upon the impact of collective knowledge creation on conceptions of history, historical methodology, and Quellenkritik and to think about how citizen science might change the discipline of history and the knowledge it produces.

The rise of social media and technologies facilitating collaborative content creation have transformed a digital realm once defined by static read-only websites. Building on diverse social and cultural initiatives to harness the potential of activities such as tagging, commenting, rating, and correcting, researchers in the digital humanities are now developing approaches to include members of the public in complex scholarly tasks such as manuscript transcription and annotation. Recent initiatives have looked to social approaches to involve the public in the design of research agendas and projects. Historians turning to digital tools to approach topics at transnational or global scales may need to design their projects or build data sets in ways that necessitate the contributions of citizen scholars yet may not know how to best go about involving them.  

This event will focus on the methodological and theoretical implications of citizen science for historical scholarship, and it will also explore how approaches, systems, and standards to include citizen scholars in research can be designed and implemented to ensure quality of data, accuracy of results, and inclusivity of perspective.

To open up opportunities for critical inner- but also inter-disciplinary theoretical-methodological reflection and comparison, the event seeks to present a large range of methodological approaches and co-creation scales and topics. We especially welcome, therefore, proposals that are comparative in scope, projects integrating multiple digital techniques, and approaches operating at multiple levels of the knowledge co-creation “participation pyramid” (communication of results, active participation, co-production, and co-design).

While the overriding concern of the event is citizen scholarship within historiography and within history from the Early Modern period to the present, the range of approaches is open and may involve digital humanities, cultural history, political history, history of knowledge, (post)colonial history, urban history, the history of historiography or other critical frameworks. Although research centered on nation-states is relevant, we are particularly interested in the question of how to co-create transnational and transregional history sufficiently.