Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History

The Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History is the University’s third interdisciplinary research centre, focusing on high-quality research, analysis and public dissemination in the field of contemporary Luxembourgish and European history.

It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to the field of contemporary history with a particular focus on new digital methods and tools for historical research and teaching.

Mission

Fields of interest

The interdisciplinary centre aims to perform as a key player in three interrelated fields of interest :

  1. To serve as a national platform for the critical discussion and academic study of questions related to the contemporary history of Luxembourg from a transnational perspective
  2. To act as an international hub for reflection on the methodological and epistemological challenges of doing history in the digital age
  3. To function as a local mediator in the promotion of multimodal and digital literacy in academic research and teaching at the University of Luxembourg

The centre particularly focuses on the use of digital methods and tools for innovative historical research and serves as a catalyst for creative scholarship and hands-on approaches to new forms of public dissemination and societal engagement with history in Luxembourg.                                           

Three thematic areas—contemporary history of Luxembourg, digital historiography and contemporary European history—are examined from a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective.

Contemporary history of Luxembourg

Research on the contemporary history of Luxembourg will investigate the political, economic, cultural and social history of Luxembourg in the 20th and 21st centuries.

This research profile reflects the mission entrusted to the University of Luxembourg: producing new knowledge about the contemporary history of Luxembourg by studying phenomena and processes that have profoundly affected the country and whose comparative value goes beyond the national perspective.

Examples of such topics are the transition of the Luxembourgish economy and industries, processes of migration and nation-building and the legacies of wars and occupation regimes.

Contemporary European history

Research on contemporary European history will examine the historical dynamics of acceleration and change in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Reflecting the wider international and historical context, in particular the Cold War, many possible European histories will be studied, including the processes of decolonisation and globalisation and the complex project of European integration.

Particular focus will be placed on the “hidden integration” of Europe, e.g. the study of transnational infrastructures and international organisations. In addition, processes of Europeanisation and the convergence of national economies, living standards and cultural norms and values will be explored.

Digital history

The radical impact of the digital turn on the performance of all stages of historical research requires critical reflection on the methodological and epistemological consequences of digital technologies for historical science.

The research area on digital history and historiography will engage with these multiple challenges in theoretical, methodological and practical ways by dealing with topics such as:

  • mass digitisation and the long-term preservation of digital data;
  • data management and metadata descriptions;
  • algorithmic criticism and a new heuristic of search;
  • the critical use of tools for text mining, visualisation and network analysis;
  • transmedia storytelling and non-linear narratives;
  • public history and crowdsourcing.

Methodology

The interdisciplinary centre’s research activities are carried out from an interdisciplinary, experimental and critical perspective.

There is a particular focus on a hands-on approach to the use of digital methods and tools for exploring contemporary Luxembourgish and European history.

The critical use of digital sources and the dissemination of history to a wider audience through the development of digital public history projects in new and engaging formats will be a core mission of the centre.  Its excellent digital research infrastructure will help turn it into a laboratory for doing contemporary history in the 21st century.

Facts and cooperation

Creation

In June 2015, the Luxembourg Government gave its approval for the creation of an interdisciplinary centre for contemporary history (IHTP) at the University.

In summer 2016, the University integrated four previously independent national research centres also involved in research on related topics:

  • the “Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe”;
  • the “Centre d’Études et de Recherches Européennes Robert Schuman”;
  • the “Centre de documentation et de recherche sur la Résistance”;
  • the “Centre de documentation et de recherche sur l’enrôlement force”.

The Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History was officially set up on 1 October 2016 and is directed by Professor Andreas Fickers.

Collaboration

The interdisciplinary centre works in close cooperation with the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education, and in particular its existing Institute for History.

In addition, the centre will engage in ongoing societal debates, collaborate with civil society organisations and the educational sector and aim to build strong ties with the main stakeholders in the archive sector and cultural heritage institutions.

Cooperation with established research centres in the field of contemporary history and the development of privileged partnerships with international institutions is ongoing.

Contact

University of Luxembourg
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History
Belval Campus
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette

Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers, Director

  • Andreas Fickers, Director
  • The interdisciplinary centre’s premises, Belval Campus