Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Beyond the 'End of History:' Envisioning the Future of History in the Digital Age

Prof Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, David Bailey, Paul Turnbull, Renfrew Christie, Marilyn Levine.

Most of the initial analysis of the internet has focused upon media effects: immediacy of communication; transformation of user into creator; decentralization of the means and modes of expression. Subsequent discussion has stressed the webs profound social implications, from its role in internationalization to it possibilities for democratization. Little attention, however, has been given, either in scholarly or popular literature, to the profound possibilities the internet holds for the transformation of scholarship. This international panel, composed of pioneers in the use of the internet for historical scholarship, will discuss four key avenues for the development of historical knowledge in the internet era. First, how can the internet continue to remake archival research: how does the internet make previously unexplored materials readily available to scholars who might otherwise not have the resources or time to travel; who decides which archives should become open; what scholarly standards should be used to assist archivists in making their materials public? Second, how can electronic tools, such as the powerful searching software, allow scholars to discover previously ignored or undervalued materials; what new connections and insights can come from the power of electronic searching? Third, is there a tension between the primacy of data on the internet and the professional commitment of historians to emphasize context; will the remarkable availability of data force historians to reexamine their underlying models and assumptions? Fourth, as conventional archival research is superceded by online research, what is lost what connections which have proved essential to new insights will disappear as the expert archivist becomes more bound by technological concerns.


Prof Mark Lawrence Kornbluh  (United States)
MATRIX: The Center for the Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences On-line
Michigan State University

Mark Lawrence Kornbluh is a Professor of History and Director of MATRIX, The Center for Humane Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University. The largest humanities technology center in an American university, MATRIX’s research focuses on preservation, interpretation, and educational access for digital humanities content. Kornbluh serves as executive director of H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, an international interdisciplinary scholarly organization dedicated to developing the enormous educational potential of the Internet.

David Bailey  (United States)

Michigan State University

Paul Turnbull  (Australia)

James Cook University

Renfrew Christie  (South Africa)

University of the Western Cape

Marilyn Levine  (United States)

Lewis and Clark College

  • History
  • Technology
  • Digital Revolution
  • Information Age
  • Internet

(90 min. Colloquium, English)