May 23, 2016

PhD

Shaping a digital memory platform on migration narratives: A public history project on Italian and Portuguese migration memories in Luxembourg

The first portuguese migrants arrived in Luxembourg in the 1960's and the 1970's. © Unilu.

The first portuguese migrants arrived in Luxembourg in the 1960’s and the 1970’s. © Unilu.

This research aims at studying migration narratives in Luxembourg combining a plural cultural history framework with a systematical historical comparison of the mediated memories of two specific groups of immigrants in the Grand Duchy – the Italian and the Portuguese – and their different generations’ narratives. Approaching the subject from the perspective of “History from Below” and using an innovative methodological apparatus built on oral history and digital and public history methods this research expect to encounter an alternative storytelling for these immigrants with acknowledgment to their own agency as historical actors. To access and interpret the migration narratives of diverse generations of Italian and Portuguese in Luxembourg, the project will employ a digital toolkit which will be tested in the examination of different bodies of sources (ego-documents, oral history, published material), enabling a “scalable reading” text analysis of the whole corpora. One of the main outcomes of this project, besides the PhD thesis itself, is the shaping, together with the community, of a platform for digital storytelling on migration in Luxembourg, aiming at sharing memories of different generations and communities online. The process of building and running this “platform” as an example of doing public history with the means of digital tools and technologies is the central empirical challenge of this project. The platform will allow to test tools for doing digital history online (text mining and visualization software) and to actively engage with the “object of study” itself that is the different generations of Italian and Portuguese migrants in Luxembourg, sharing with them, the authority of the project. Doing so, the projects aims at contributing to the Luxembourgish historiography on migration, as well as to reflect on the methodological and epistemological debates in the field of digital history / digital humanities, by evaluating the effect historical crowdsourcing and digital source criticism to the historiographical operation.

PhD thesis by Anita Lucchesi.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers, Faculté des Lettres, des Sciences Humaines, des Arts et des Sciences de l’Education, Identités. Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE), University of Luxembourg.

Digital History as Trading Zone

header-smallDigital History signifies a transition wherein digital methods are incorporated in historical research. Digital History thus introduces techniques developed by computer scientists or engineers into the practice of historians, so that we can speak of methodological interdisciplinarity. 1 However, how digital methods affect the practices of History, in methodology as well as epistemology, remains unexplored. My PhD research aims to address this gap. This blogpost introduces some initial ideas and concepts that I will be investigating with an ethnographic study for which I hope to find interested historians, computer scientists, or other relevant actors of Digital History.