Het dient niet weinig ter opheldering der geschiedenissen, zo des Bibels als des Joodschen Volks, dat de Almachtige deszelvs bizondere Beschermgod en Regeerer waere; door het welk veele, anderzints onoplosselyke, zwarigheden, worden weggenomen. In dezen zin, te weten, met betrekking tot het Staetsbestuur, was het ook, by uitstekenheid, dat God aen Israël zyne rechten en instellingen bekend gemaekt had, het geen hy niet deed aen andere volken.
From 21-23 January I will be participating in a conference on the theme of “Enlightened Religion — From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety”. It will take place in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and it is part of the Faultline 1700 research project. Together with Jonathan Israel I will provide some closing thoughts at the end of the conference. In preparation for this privilege, I will provide a few ways of summarizing the conference proceedings — even before it begins. Read more →
For today (in Nov. 2014) I have a short observation that I might develop in the future. The post is about how digital tools for text analysis fit into the practice of historical research (the doing of history). Advanced students of history will be familiar with the “linguistic turn” of the late 20th century. This is the scholarly practice of analyzing how language shapes (our knowledge of) reality. Postmodern skepticism about objective historical knowledge is the best-known variant of this trend. However, it is not the only one. In recent decades many historians — not all (perhaps even few) of whom would accept the label of post-modernists — have paid increasing attention to literature and popular media as sources. One example is the British cultural analyst Raymond Williams, who, starting in the 1970s, outlined a program for the study of “keywords.” Voyant is a fabulous digital tool for the study of keywords.
Updated, Jan. 2023: For some background on the scholarship of keywords, see Raymond Williams’s excellent introduction to Keywords. Williams’s methodology is similar to the project of history of concepts (Begriffsgeschichte) pioneered in post-WWII West Germany. Keith Tribe has written a very helpful introduction to that scholarship, and readers interested in more might explore a book by one of the project’s main contributors: Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past.
To learn more about Voyant Tools, I recommend the book and accompanying website by Rockwell and Sinclair called Hermeneutica.
I have been experimenting with Yoyant Tools in my teaching (HIST 2F90 — about Atlantic world history — at BrockU) and in my research (this site). To help me analyze Dutch texts with Voyant, I built a Dutch stop words list that Stéfan Sinclair added to the Voyant Tools site online. The list includes early modern spelling variations. You can find the list on Academia.edu and in Voyant Tools itself (https://voyant-tools.org/). If you catch mistakes, please let me know.
NOTE (Feb. 2023): The links are now updated and should be working.
NOTE (Jan. 2023): This post requires updating and refreshing. It’s various parts do not work properly.
ORIGINAL POST: Under the “About” and “Themes” links for this Blog I outline a new research project that I am working on with Gary Waite and a team of other scholars to examine the nonconforming religious roots of early Enlightenment thought and social organization in London and Amsterdam from about 1580 until 1700. An aspect of this project is that we will examine the opponents of religious nonconformity and intellectual innovation. The short title for the project “Amsterdamnified!” This post is about the oldest source of this quirky term. I will use the source to highlight a promising digital tool.
This is the opening post for a new blog about research on Dutch religious and political nonconformity before 1850. The purpose of the blog is to highlight the research of Prof. Mike Driedger and his colleagues. We are using the online medium because of the visual and interactive options that it offers.
There are three rotating banner images…
Another features a Dutch political cartoon from the mid 1780s.
In the centre of the cartoon is a caricature of François Adriaan van der Kemp, a preacher in the Mennonite (Doopsgezind) congregation of Leiden. Van der Kemp was a leading member of the Dutch Republic’s “Patriot” movement of the 1780s. The Patriots movement opposed what its members thought was Orange family tyranny. Although van der Kemp led a congregation of Mennonites, who traditionally rejected the use of violence, he himself acted as the captain of a group of citizen-soldiers who were prepared to defended the Patriot revolt against threats from Orangists. The Patriot movement collapsed in 1787 when faced with a foreign invasion in support of the Orange regime.
The image is from the Rijksmuseum collection in Amsterdam. Its title is “Spotprent op de Leidse predikant F.A. van der Kemp, 1786: Der Hedendaagsche Cantzel Huzaaren” (Caricature of the Leiden Preacher F.A. van der Kemp, 1786: Today’s Pulpit Militiaman). It is available online in high-def format as part of the Museum’s Rijksstudio project. The object number is RP-P-OB-85.549.