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The goal of the international research network "New Directions in Film Historiography" funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) is to collaboratively explore how digital technologies shape our understanding of film and cinema history from a media studies perspective. Analyzing a selection of different research projects, the network seeks to theorize current scholarly media practices in the field of the digital humanities. In order to analyze the epistemic, conceptual, and methodological frameworks of digital film historiography, the network brings together theory with practice. It assumes that the challenges and potentials of digital tools can only be understood in its far-reaching dimensions when both applied and critically reflected.

The network focuses less on digital cinema or new media but rather on film historiographic data, digital methods, tools, and platforms which are used in the humanities. However, research outcomes and discourses on how we define and thereby produce historic sources play an important role, particularly when it comes to archiving and presentation practices.

The network wishes to contribute to ongoing discussions about the relationship between the digital humanities and film and media studies. It seeks to advance research on the implications of digitalization for the humanities on an interdisciplinary level. Besides film and media studies, it draws on approaches from various disciplines by spanning history, software studies, library and archive studies, and computer science.

Research areas include:

  • Digital humanities vs. film and media studies
  • Research practices: big data and source critique
  • Presentation practices: archives, databases, platforms
  • Practices of analysis and interpretation: research objects and access
  • Identifying challenges and opportunities of digital tools and methods

Key activities include:

  • Creating a comprehensive overview of existing filmhistoriographic DH projects and digital tools and methods
  • Experimenting with digital tools including systematic evaluation and documentation
  • Detailed analysis of digital approaches in film historiography
  • Discussing standardization in research data management and collaborative digital infrastructures
  • Joint presentations at international conferences and publications
  • Exploring possibilities for further collaboration and research proposals

Project duration: July 2019 - December 2022
Project leader: Dr. Sarah-Mai Dang

Cooperation Partners