In 1972 the Italian author Italo Calvino published Invisible Cities, in which he sketches a grim prospect of the effects of globalization. ‘If on arriving I had not read the city’s name written in big letters, I would have thought I was landing at the same airport from which I had taken off’. Calvino’s protagonist … Continue reading Part 2. The end of globalization? The questionable paradox of multicultural homogenized non-places
In 1851 six million British citizens, about a third of the British population, traveled to Hyde Park in London to visit the first world exhibition, where the most recent technological breakthroughs of 28 attending nations were showcased. These exhibitions, which became a popular attraction in Europe and the United States from the mid-19th century until … Continue reading Globalization part 1: ideas, politics, economy and international relations (1850-1918).
In the 1970’s the Italian Jesuit scholar Roberto Busa was the first to introduce digital tools in the Humanities in order to analyze the work of medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas. Whereas the Life and Natural sciences around the same time enthusiastically welcomed the ‘Digital Turn’, subsequently changing both its methodology as the process of … Continue reading Coding: A necessary skill for Historical Analysis
‘Suppose you see a bird walking around in a farm yard. This bird has no label that says 'duck'. But the bird certainly looks, swims and quacks like a duck. Well, by this time you have probably reached the conclusion that the bird is a duck, whether he's wearing a label or not’. Met … Continue reading Fascisme buiten Europa? Essay over transnationaal onderzoek en de irrelevantie van de zoektocht naar definities
‘If there is an idea, a single idea that goes through all of my novels, which goes so far as to haunt them, it is the absolute irreversibility of all processes of decay once they have begun’, Michel Houellebecq wrote to the Jewish-French philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy in a letter that was published in their book … Continue reading Michel Houellebecq: a modern critic of the Enlightentment
‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past’, wrote Marx in 1851. Just three years earlier he had enthusiastically proclaimed the collapse of ‘bourgeoise rule’, when revolutions engulfed Europe. Yet, … Continue reading Why do men rebel? Marxist paternalism versus agency in explaining contentious politics
Why Digital Methods play a crucial role in the evolution of the study of history On 22 April 2017, scientists in nearly 500 cities worldwide asked attention for the threats science is facing. Correspondingly, opinion sections in the media displayed an outcry for the relevance and need of science. Interestingly, science was consistently defined as … Continue reading From the study of the past to the science of the past for the present