Project kick-off ‘Mining Shifting Concepts Through Time’

27 Aug 2015 - 1 min

The scientific goal of this project is to develop a tool that enables humanities researchers to mine the historical development of concepts and the vocabulary with which they are expressed in big textual data repositories.

Historical concepts (such as citizenship, democracy, evolution, health, liberty, security, trust, etc.) are essential to our understanding of the past. The history of concepts is a well-established field of research for historians, philosophers and linguists alike. However, there is little agreement on the nature of conceptual change, continuity and replacement, or on the proper methodology to distinguish between core concepts and the marginal vocabularies that are attached to them in certain historical contexts. Currently the notion that concepts are stable unit-ideas that constitute the continuous foundation of changing historical debates, just as chemical elements can form different molecules, is being revaluated.

This project aims to make historically embedded cultural concepts visible in a way that enables researchers to trace the specific historicity of cultural concepts and their changes and continuities in meaning. Read more here.