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Reassembling the Republic of Letters

Hosting organisations
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften

The COST Action “Reassembling the Republic of Letters, 1500-1800: A digital framework for multi-lateral collaboration on Europe’s intellectual history” is an EU-funded network which, from 2014 to 2018, will bring together scholars, librarians, IT and Digital Humanities experts dealing with early modern learned correspondences. The technical goal of the Action is to discuss the preconditions for a comprehensive reference database for learned correspondence on the basis of shared data standards; the historiographic aim is a first approach at a “polyphonic”, i.e. trans-national and trans-denominational history of the Republic of Letters, which is considered a proto-European knowledge-based civil society.

The Action will have a number of intersection points with Austrian institutions and research projects. It will be co-chaired by a scholar based at the University of Vienna who is active in the field of early modern history of scholarship; it will involve the respective Centers for Digital Humanities at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna and the University of Graz, as well as the Manuscript Department of the Austrian National Library: the letter corpora preserved there, among others that of the imperial librarians Hugo Blotius, Sebastian Tengnagel and Peter Lambeck, will contribute precious views on a hitherto rather scarcely explored segment of early modern intellectual history. It is also planned to foster dialogue with other well-established initiatives in the Digital Humanities like, and to involve institutions specialized in traditional editorial techniques like the Austrian Institute of Historical Research.

In addition, the Action is also intended to serve as a platform for exchange in the specifically relevant fields of the Digital Humanities – e.g. database technology, digital editing, visualization – at the Austrian national level, and to encourage the design and submission of proposals within the relevant Austrian and European calls.