Narratives and Networks

Public lecture by Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Institute for Medieval Research, Division of Byzantine Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences) on the topic of "Narratives and Networks: digital approaches towards the reconstruction of past connectivity" will be held in the National and University Library in Zagreb on Wednesday, 27 April 2016, at 12:00 – 13:30 pm.

„Networks are phenomenological realities as well as measurement constructs” (Harrison C. White, Identity and Control. How Social Formations emerge. Princeton – Oxford 2008, p.36).
Based on the conceptual frameworks of Harrison C. White and other theoreticians of relational sociology and systems theory, I will reflect on the actual content and dynamics of those social phenomena we aim to capture and visualise in the form of network graphs. Examples of network modelling and visualisation on the basis of historical and archaeological evidence from current projects undertaken at our institute will illustrate possible approaches and pitfalls for the mapping and analysis of complex entanglements between individuals, objects and places, also in their spatial and temporal dynamics. Thereby, also the interplay between “quantitative” or “structural” characteristics of networks and their emergent “qualitative” properties will become visible.

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, born 1977. Dr. phil. (Byzantine Studies), University of Vienna 2006. Senior Research Associate at the Division for Byzantine Research/Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Lecturer at the University of Vienna. Supervisor of the projects “Complexities and networks in the Medieval Mediterranean and Near East (COMMED)” and “Mapping medieval conflicts: a digital approach towards political dynamics in the pre-modern period (MEDCON)”. Research Focus on Byzantine history in comparison and entanglement within the Medieval World as well as social and spatial network analysis and complexity theory.

Some recent publications by Preiser-Kapeller
– (with F. Daim, eds.), Harbours and Maritime Networks as Complex Adaptive Systems (RGZM Tagungen). Mainz 2015, 141 p.
– Civitas Thauris. The significance of Tabrīz in the spatial frameworks of Christian merchants and ecclesiastics in the 13th and 14th century, in: J. Pfeiffer (ed.), Beyond the Abbasid Caliphate: Politics, Patronage and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th-15th Century Tabriz. Leiden – Boston – Cologne 2013, pp. 251-299.
– Liquid Frontiers. A relational analysis of maritime Asia Minor as religious contact zone in the 13th-15th century, in: A. Peacock et al. (eds.), Islam and Christianity in Medieval Anatolia. Aldershot 2015, pp. 117-146.
– Calculating the Middle Ages? The Project “Complexities and Networks in the Medieval Mediterranean and the Near East”. Medieval Worlds Issue 2/2015: “Empires in Decay” pp. 100-127.
– A Collapse of the Eastern Mediterranean? New results and theories on the interplay between climate and societies in Byzantium and the Near East, ca. 1000–1200 AD. Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 65 (2015) pp. 195-242.

Lecture is free to public and will be held in english. Lecture is realized under the IAH project ARTNET – Modern and Contemporary Artist Networks, Art Groups and Art Associations. Organisation and Communication Models of Artist Collaborative Practices in the 20th and 21st Century, funded by Croatian scientific foundation.

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller,
Ljiljana Kolešnik,

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