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Working Papers of the Priority Programme 1859 "Experience and Expectation. Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour" No. 31
Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin
The increasing availability of digital text collections and the corresponding establishment of methods for computer-assisted analysis open up completely new perspectives on historical textual sources. In this paper, we use the possibilities of text mining to investigate the history of German historiography. The aim of the paper is to use topic models, i.e. methods of automated content analysis, to explore publication trends within German historiography since the end of World War II and, thus, to gain data-based insights into the history of the discipline. For this purpose, we evaluate a text corpus consisting of more than 9,000 articles from eleven leading historiographical journals. The following questions are addressed: (1) Which research subjects mattered, and in how far did this change over time? (2) In how far does this change reflect historiographical paradigm shifts, or 'turns'? (3) Do the data allow to map the emergence of these turns, i.e., can we periodize/historicize them? (4) Which of the proclaimed turns mattered in the sense that it is actually reflected in the research themes we find, and which turn does not?
German historiography
cultural turn
digital history
topic modelling
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Working Paper

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