Call for papers

The Historical Network Research community is very pleased to announce the call for papers for the Historical Networks Research conference 2024 which will take place at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), from Monday 8 July until Wednesday 10 July, 2024.

The Historical Network Research Conference

Historical networks

The phenomena studied by the historical sciences are, by their very nature, complex situations: they involve, for example, interwoven personal relationships, collective dynamics that structure social and cultural space, or political and economic systems that operate at local and global levels. The network metaphor is frequently used to describe this entanglement. In recent decades, however, historians have begun to think about ways of formalizing this approach, appropriating the concepts and tools of graph theory to provide a new perspective on archives. The application of formal network analysis to history is now a highly fertile field of experimentation and research. It can be used to analyze the geographical logics of major circulation networks, to highlight brokers in affiliation networks, to compile family trees to reveal their points of contact, to study the occurrences and co-occurrences of concepts in serial texts, to show the evolution of personal social networks, etc. And through a great deal of empirical work, the specific features that historical disciplines bring to network science become apparent: particular attention to the modeling of data that is often incomplete and uncertain, the need to take account of temporality in all its finesse, the necessity to find a language that allows mathematical results to be interpreted in a qualitative narrative.

In 2009, following a workshop dedicated to the application of social network analysis to history, a small community of practice, the Historical Network Research community, was created. It evolved into a series of workshops and then an international conference, of which the present edition is the 9th to date, after conferences in Hamburg, Ghent, Lisbon, Turku, Brno, Luxembourg and Mainz. 2013 saw the creation of the HNR Collective Bibliography, a central tool for sharing the community’s scientific output. In 2017, the first issue of JHNR, the Journal of Historical Network Research, was published, allowing everyone to share their research in Open Access. Other resources include a YouTube channel with recorded lectures and a newsletter.

Conference focus: Visualization

Network visualization is often the first thing to be seen, whether it’s an illegible but colorful node-link diagram, an elaborate sociogram, an austere matrix or a fancy flow map. Because of our discomfort with basing our interpretation on an object apparently built on somewhat subjective foundations, because they are very likely to be influenced by a graphic bias, we often relegate visualizations to a minor role in our exploratory approaches, preferring the cold (apparent) scientificity of graph metrics. But just because we see naive uses of network visualization doesn’t mean it can’t be a highly effective tool for understanding, exploring and communicating our research data. One of the ambitions of the conference is therefore to question our use of network visualization in history, a concern that will be reflected in particular in the workshops and keynotes.

Note that the HNR conference is open to all subjects involving network analysis in historical disciplines, so the thematic emphasis of this 2024 edition has no impact on the selection of contributions. The only effect will be that an image will be requested for each paper (after the review phase, if not included in the submitted abstract) to create a gallery that will be displayed during the conference to spark discussion about our network visualization practices.


For our 2024 conference, we welcome contributions discussing any historical period and geographical area. Authors may be historians, linguists, librarians, archaeologists, art historians, computer scientists, social scientists as well as scholars from other disciplines working with historical data. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Applications of network analysis to history, art history, ancient history, intellectual history, economic history, social history, media history, political history, history of religions, biography, public history, micro-history, postcolonial history, global history, archaeology, literary history, cultural history, etc.
  • Analysis of specific network types, such as geospatial networks, temporal and dynamic networks, bipartite networks, multi-layer networks, multiplex networks, etc.
  • Methodological contributions concerning the applicability of network analysis to history, including, for example, modeling, ontologies, linked data, the use of graph metrics, visual network analysis, etc.
  • Pedagogical contributions, presenting teaching scenarios, literacy questions, software or feature presentations, interfaces, etc.


Long papers

Long papers consist of a 20-minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of discussion, and are intended to present comprehensive research. An abstract of 500-1000 words is required, including at least 3 citations. It should contain a description of the paper’s subject and research questions, an overview of the data used and methods employed, a discussion of the research results and possibly the wider implication for network analysis in history.

Short papers

Short papers consist of a 10-minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of discussion, and are intended to present research in progress. An abstract of 300-500 words is required, including at least 3 citations. It should contain a brief description of the subject and the research questions, an overview of the data used and the methods employed, a discussion of any results or questions still open at this stage.

Submission guidelines


Abstracts must be submitted via the conference management platform ( by January 31, 2024.

The author (or corresponding author in the case of multi-authored papers) must create an account on the platform and then fill in the form, copying the abstract in full text (no PDF or other attachments).

Abstracts can be written in English or French.

Citations should use the Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition Author Date style (author-date in the text, then full reference at the end).

Including an image in the abstract is encouraged to allow a general discussion of our network visualization practices. If, for any reason, the submitted version does not contain any, authors of accepted papers will be invited to add an image and caption at a later stage. Abstracts and images will then be published on the conference website ahead of the event and archived in a book of abstracts on Zenodo.

Authors’ presence at the conference

Although it is possible to follow the conference via streaming, it is nevertheless an on-site event. By submitting a paper, authors are aware that at least one person will need to be in Lausanne to present it.

Important dates

31.01.2024 deadline for submissions

01.03.2024 notification of acceptance/rejection

01.03.2024 registration opening

8-10.07.2024 conference

31.08.2024 invitation of selected articles to JHNR