InTaVia 4th Newsletter / There’s History in all Men’s Lives

A little over a month before the completion of the project INTAVIA: In/Tangible European Heritage – Visual Analysis, Curation & Communication, the project consortium will co-organise the second of two final conferences (see here the details about the Conference Smashing the Silos!, which took place in Graz 9 July 2023).

The two-day symposium There’s History in All Men’s Lives aims to reflect on the nature of biography and intends to question its status as a genre of historiography. While it may seem that biography has experienced a period of disengagement from the academic world in recent decades, this couldn’t be further from the truth if one looks at key national biographical projects, among many others the Deutsche Biographie, the Österreichische Biographische Lexikon, the National Biography of Finland – and the New Slovenian Biographical Lexicon (NSBL), which is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its first volume this year. Important international projects such as InTaVia are equally important indicators that biography is more than a mere ancillary subgenre of history; the visualisation of biographical data are one of its most important aspects. 

The symposium There’s history in all men’s lives brings together experts from two closely related fields to shed light on the biography as a historical genre, as well as on various aspects of cultural heritage, digital humanities and visualisation, in the hope of further strengthening collaboration between them. 

With these experts from different European research and teaching institutions, we want to discuss open challenges for the field and reflect on its future: 

How do we use biography as a genre to understand contemporary (or ever present) political realities?

How do biographies reflect the lives of elites – and can they reflect the lives of ordinary people at all?

What kinds of networks can be reconstructed through biography?

How do biographies reflect the lives of minorities and marginalised people?

We will also revisit questions from the Graz symposium, but more importantly, a whole half-day will be dedicated to a hands-on workshop, where the InTaVia knowledge graph will be discussed in detail and the opportunity will be given to test the functionalities of the InTaVia front-end tools.

The detailed programme of the symposium is available on the project website – but feel free to explore the whole website – and stay tuned for more information on using the InTaVia platform, as well as the next newsletter issues!