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See detailFor a New Hermeneutics of Practice in Digital Public History: Thinkering with memorecord.uni.lu
Lucchesi, Anita UL

Doctoral thesis (2020)

This thesis is built upon an experimental study of doing digital public history. I aim to study the digital interferences of the digital component on the historiographic operation as a whole. While the ... [more ▼]

This thesis is built upon an experimental study of doing digital public history. I aim to study the digital interferences of the digital component on the historiographic operation as a whole. While the fields of digital and public history are advancing fast with abundant work on development and application of new methodologies, tools and approaches, the discipline of history is still lagging behind in terms of theoretical reflection on the new practices emerging from it. Researchers have been exploring alternative forms of source criticism, storytelling and publications for years now, yet the greatest attention still goes to the outputs, while little criticism, if any, is devoted to the process of doing digital work. By building and analysing a digital public history platform, this research aims to make a contribution in this direction. To do so, the research takes a fully hands-on approach and offers an evaluation of digital methods that to great extent emerge from practice and the researcher’s first-hand experience with the digital. The empirical study consisted of investigating memories of Italian and Portuguese immigrants in Luxembourg through the establishment of a collaboratively shaped digital memory platform. The process of building the Memorecord platform, activating the crowdsourcing through social media and analysing the born-digital data originated from this collection informed the theoretical reflection of this thesis. While in the more practical layer, hands-on work and collaboration were highlighted, from the more speculative layer, the main theoretical contribution verse on the hybridisation of old and practices and capacities synthesized in the emergence of a hermeneutics of practice, derived from the heuristics gesture of creative and playful experimentation, (i.e. thinkering) around the digital tools and methods. This specific hermeneutical approach may function as a visibility broker, assisting historians in the process of unveiling the unspoken and implicit aspects of historical inquiry in the digital age. Hermeneutics of practice, hence, should facilitate the identification of the digital interferences we encounter throughout the research process and improve the researcher’s readiness to face the new research conditions placed by the digital component. If a new style of reasoning of/about/in/within digital and digital public history should be stabilised, hermeneutics of practice could become an important procedure to ensure historical objectivity in 21st Century. [less ▲]

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