Tuesday 21 November 2023 – Postgraduate Panel I [online] – Eddie Mehan (Liverpool), Shu Wan (Buffalo)

This seminar is 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm GMT live online (via Zoom here), and later posted to our YouTube channel.

Session chair: TBC

The IHR Digital History Postgraduate Panels showcase historical research using digital methods that is taking place in the postgraduate community. A series of short papers will be followed by a question and answer session.

Paper Title:

Eddie Mehan: ‘”To govern and rule the people of God with equity and justice”: Carolingian political discourses of justice’


Carolingian (western Europe, 751 – c. 888) political discourses made much use of the concept of justice. This concept was reflected in a wide variety of Latin terms, from the simple iustitia to verbs and adjectives of justice and judgement. There is an inherent translation problem in dealing with these concepts, as Carolingian discourses of justice do not map onto modern views of justice. This paper will study one particular genre of texts, advice literature to kings, and their representations of justice and the just ruler. It makes use of digital text analysis methods complementing close reading to understand how justice was used as both a rhetorical device and an attribute of the ideal ruler. In particular, the differences between verbs, nouns and adjectives can shed light on how justice was perceived as an action, a concept and an attribute.

Shu Wan: ‘The Bancroft Prizes are not a Small World While Connections are Still Significant’


In 2022, the recipients of the Bancroft Prize were publicized, and two historians, Mia Bay, and Mae Ngai, were awarded the prestigious academic awards for history books. Curiously, the two historians both completed their dissertations under the supervision of two previous Bancroft Prize recipients, Eric Foner and David Brion Davis. They were awarded this prize for their publications in 1976 and 1989, respectively. However, the advisor-advisee relationship only sometimes affects the decision-making process for the award. In 2023, three other historians, Beverly Gage, Kelly Lytle Hernández, and John Wood Sweet, were awarded the prize. Unlike Bay and Ngai, their advisors were not among the roster of the previous recipients. (https://library.columbia.edu/about/awards/bancroft/previous_awards.html.) The difference between the awardees whose advisors were former awardees and non-awardees fostered our academic curiosity about the connection between the two variables: (1) becoming awardees and (2) being supervised by former awardees. Concerned with how to measure the connection between those awardees and their awarded advisors, we implemented this Social Network Analysis (SNA) methodology to explore the extent to which the advisor-advisee relationship could affect the distribution of this prize.

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