Tuesday 21 May 2024 – Matti La Mela (Uppsala University): Accessing nature before “allemansrätten”? Using computational text analysis to study a tradition before it was named

This seminar is 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm BST live on Zoom (link https://zoom.us/j/5959205456), and later posted to our YouTube channel.

This year the IHR Digital History seminar is support by the Programming Historian: a publisher of open-access, multi-lingual, and peer-reviewed tutorials that help historian learn digital tools, techniques, and workflows.

Session chair: Alexandra Ortolja-Baird

Abstract: Sweden, Finland, and Norway share a longstanding tradition known as allemansrätten, which grants public access to nature for activities such as camping and foraging on both public and private lands. Allemansrätten, although considered an age-old Nordic custom, was not named until the 1930s and only gained common usage after World War II. In this presentation, I will explore the roots of Nordic public access rights to nature at the beginning of the twentieth century. The aim is to examine the formative process of these access rights and to understand the extent to which the rights existed before they were actually labelled. I will talk about studying the history of discourses and practices related to access rights to nature, by using recently digitized parliamentary debate corpora in Sweden and Finland, and methods in computational text analysis.

Bio: Matti La Mela is an Associate Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities at Uppsala University (Department of ALM). His background is in social science history and he has experience in multidisciplinary digital humanities research. His recent work has focused on digital history methods, the history of property rights, and research infrastructures (parliamentary data, historical patent data).

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