Reassembling the Republic of Letters
A digital framework for multi-lateral collaboration on Europe's intellectual history (1500–1800)
The early modern communications revolution allowed scholars to scatter correspondence across Europe, knitting together the international, knowledge-based civil society crucial to that era’s intellectual breakthroughs and formative for many of modern Europe’s values and institutions. The current IT revolution provides means for reassembling and disseminating this precious literary heritage for the first time while fostering new forms of scholarly cooperation. In pursuit of these aims, this project will (1) undertake a historiographical reconsideration of the place of the Republic of Letters in Europe’s cultural formation; (2) coordinate the intensive discussion amongst librarians and archivists, IT experts, and scholars needed to plan a state-of-the-art digital system within which to collect a pan-European pool of highly granular data on the Republic of Letters; (3) design tools for navigating, analysing and visualising this huge pool of data, and for facilitating new forms of international and interdisciplinary scholarly collaboration, thereby consolidating a new virtual Republic of Letters; and (4) experiment with using this system to engage the broader public with the cutting-edge technical and scholarly work on this key phase of European cultural and intellectual integration.
The HAB as one of the consortium partners will be responsible for Working Group 5 "Data Exchange and Strategic Planning". Further information may be obtained from the project website www.republicofletters.net.