French History Journal: Dirty Data and New Quantitative Histories – CALL FOR PAPERS

Date / time: 15 July, 11:59 pm

French History Journal: Dirty Data and New Quantitative Histories - CALL FOR PAPERS


Call for Papers, deadline – 15 July 2024

This is a call for papers to be considered for publication as part of a special issue of the journal French History, published by Oxford University Press.

For full details, see here:

Historical research has changed in the age of big data. Thanks to the labour of archivists, librarians, and other researchers to catalogue, digitize and analyse historical records, there has never been so much source material available in such easily accessible forms. Guldi and Armitage’s recent ‘History Manifesto’ has called for historians to embrace massive quantification and exploit the power of new digital technologies. But how might historians do quantitative history most responsibly and with the greatest insight? French History invites articles to contribute to a special issue exploring the possibilities – and the perils – of quantitative approaches to studying the past in the twenty-first century.

Histories of France and the Francophone world have been sites of innovation and experimentation with quantitative approaches, from the economic and sociological interests of the first generation of the Annales School, to the anthropometrics of historians such as Emmanuel le Roy Ladurie. But rather than relitigating the debates of the late twentieth century, this special issue takes inspiration from what Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc in a recent article call the ‘quieter hybridisations’ between quantitative and qualitative approaches. How do historians of France and the Francophone world count today? And how do we assert the value of inherently ‘dirty data’, the raw and unfiltered traces of the past found in diverse archival and published sources, in the face of dominant quantitative methods across the humanities and social sciences that value pristine, cleaned data?

We invite contributions on quantitative methods in histories of any period dealing with France and the Francophone world. Contributions could include:

  • Reflections on process and quantitative methods, from the archives to the home office
  • Toolkits and methodologies for thoughtful counting
  • Small histories that use big data
  • Case studies of the quantitatively unusual and idiosyncratic
  • Experiments with data visualisation, including GIS, network analysis or back-to-basics charts
  • Counting crime, population, trade, votes, blessings, costs or opportunities lost, etc.

Initial proposals including a 500-word abstract and 2-page C.V. should be sent to Will Pooley at by 15 July 2024.

Full articles of up to 10,000 words including footnotes will be due at the start of 2025. Articles can be in English or in French.

French History offers a free translation service from French to English for accepted articles.

Deadline for Submissions: 15 July 2024


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