Report of the Early career summer school 2019

Early career summer school
“Towards Digital Science and Technology Studies: Challenges and Opportunities”, Luxembourg, 25-27 June 2019

The Summer School “Towards Digital Science and Technology Studies: Challenges and Opportunities” was held on 25-27 June 2019, at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) of the University of Luxembourg. Organized by the ToE’s Early Career Scholars Group, it was part of the 9th Tensions of Europe Conference.

The ToE Early Career Scholars Group was established in October 2014, as part of a three-day workshop in Chios, Greece. The aim of the group is to bring together scholars trained within the ToE network, and to encourage and support early career researchers of history and technology by organizing discussions and providing scholars with assistance in improving their research.

The 2019 summer school, organized by Falk Flade, Elitsa Stoilova, Elena Kochetkova, Roberto Cantoni and Anna Åberg, focused on diverse aspects of digitalization. The organisers invited 25 doctoral students and early career scholars to discuss crises and challenges in European history with an emphasis on technology. Next to several lectures held by local and external experts, a round table was also conducted (the entire program can be found here: All talks were followed by Q&A sessions.

On Day 1, after a welcome address by Andreas Fickers, head of C2DH and co-organiser of the 9th Tensions of Europe conference, Lars Wieneke (C2DH)gave a presentation on Digital Preservation and Collections. By looking at the evolution of digital technologies and the considerable amount of data they allow to store, he outlined some of the challenges of digital preservation. He particularly highlighted the challenge of media durability.

On Day 2, Valérie Schafer (C2DH), co-organiser of the 9thToE conference gave a talk on the History of Digitalisation, while Sabine Siedel, from the Frankfurt/Oder University, gave a virtual talk on Digitalisation and/of Teaching, showing how to use digitalized methods and materials (screen recording, interactive videos) to give classes remotely, and how to evaluate outcomes produced by students. This virtual workshop itself made use of some distant interaction techniques, such as online voting. In the afternoon, Mats Fridlund from Aalto University (Helsinki) and Berlin University presented a talk on Digital humanities and the history of technology, emphasizing the birth of digital humanities, the differences between digitalization on one side, and quantification/digitization on the other, and providing a chronology/taxonomy of the techniques and methods employed to make digital history. Day 2 was concluded by a City Tour of Luxembourg City, taken by most of the school participants, or by the participation in the “Spatial Humanities, Deep Mapping, and the Future of History” seminar, given by David Bodenhamer (Indianapolis University) and moderated by Gerben Zaagsma (C2DH).

Day 3 opened with a general discussion/evaluation on the summer schooland suggestions on how to improve next edition. Anna Åberg and the other co-organisers of the school then explained the activity and function of the Early Career Network, and how to join the network. The morning was concluded by a round table, conducted by Paul Edwards (Stanford University), Roberto Cantoni (Bonn University) and Estelle Bunout (C2DH). In the round table, Paul Edwards presented his ideas about the histories of “digital” things, while Estelle Bunout introduced “Impresso”, her current research project about digitized newspaper collections. Subsequently, the summer school participants discussed the presentations as well as further issues related to the broad subject of digitalization.

The last act of the summer school was dedicated to practicalities regarding the ToE conference, and next steps of the Early Career Network.