|9 Feb 2022||17:00 - 18:30||Online event|
Tim Hitchcock (Professor of Digital History, University of Sussex)
Historians used to read physical books and manuscripts in libraries and archives, served up in formats their creators would have understood. The histories they wrote were actively shaped by archives organised to serve the needs of the nineteenth-century state, and by library systems infused by 19th and 20th century preconception and prejudice. Today, those same archives and libraries have been radically transformed as part of the development of a new rentier capitalism of intellectual property. Through DOIs and ORCIDs and a dozen other persistent identifiers – in combination with the effects of keyword searching – how we organise information, find it, deploy it in the present, and pay for it all, has changed.
This lecture asks how this radical transformation impacts the historians’ craft, and how this new form of research changes the relationship between us and a knowable past?
The seminar will be chaired by CDH Director Professor Caroline Bassett.
About the speaker
Professor Tim Hitchcock is Professor of Digital History at the University of Sussex, and until 2021 served as the director of the Sussex Humanities Lab. With Robert Shoemaker he founded and leads projects including The Old Bailey Online, London Lives, Connected Histories and Locating London’s Past – which have made the sources of eighteenth and nineteenth century British social history available online and free to access, and have helped lay the foundations for a ‘new history from below’. He has also published widely on the histories of poverty, sexuality and gender, including English Sexualities, 1700-1800 (1997), Down and Out in Eighteenth Century London (2004); and with Robert Shoemaker, Tales from the Hanging Court (2006), and London Lives: Poverty, Crime and the Making of a Modern City, 1690-1800 (2015).
Hitchcock has served as a member of the AHRC’s Advisory Council and as chair of its Digital Transformations Working Group. He has also served on the Council of the Royal Historical Society, the British Library’s Advisory Board, the Museum of London’s Academic Advisory Panel, and the C2DH’s Scientific Committee.