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Research Projects

The current project builds on a previous collaboration between Dr. Agata Bloch (Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland), Dr. Demival Vasques Filho (Digital Humanities Lab, Leibniz Institute for European History, Germany), and Dr. Michal Bojanowski (Department of Quantitative Methods and Information Technology, Kozminski University, Poland). The result of this collaboration is a unique set of network data consisting of nearly 170,000 documents of the administrative correspondence of the Portuguese Empire from 1640 to 1822. The methods we used to build this dataset, as well as a preliminary network analysis showing the potential of the dataset for historical research, were published in the high-ranking journal Social Networks. The article (Bloch, Vasques Filho, and Bojanowski 2022) addresses the technical aspects we used to collect large historical datasets from archives and convert them into network data by applying natural language processing (NLP) to nearly 170,000 historical documents of administrative correspondence. Although our network analysis was still elementary at this stage, we were already able to detect major shifts in communication patterns between the different Portuguese monarchs. 

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Imperial commoners of Brazil and West Africa (1640-1822): global history from a correspondence network perspective
National Science Center of Poland: 2022/45/B/HS3/00473

Principal Investigator (starting early 2023)

In this project, we analyze the communication patterns of imperial commoners who produced similar characteristics, narratives, and thinking strategies in the Atlantic Portuguese Empire, displaying attitudes that transcended class and gender, and how the Empire responded to that. Our unique dataset is based on the catalogs of the Portuguese Overseas Archives (AHU) in Lisbon, mainly the Projeto Barão do Rio Branco and Atlantic catalogs. Our corpus comprises the administrative correspondence – almost 170,000 records – between the metropole in Lisbon and its Atlantic overseas colonies. It allows us to see the empire as a dynamic space based on networks and created through bottom-up communication.
As for the data, our goals in this project are to develop a dictionary of entities (people, organizations, locations) identified in the corpus and topic models to extract semantic information. We want to determine what topic - political, administrative, economic, religious, or otherwise - the senders and recipients of these administrative letters are concerned with. Our large-scale dataset of official correspondence provides a unique opportunity to examine how global events reverberate and how local individuals gain attention through the communication channels of empire. We are interested in research questions related to the experiences of non-elite residents of the Portuguese Empire and how these changed across space and time. Using cutting-edge technology, the project offers innovative perspectives on the history of the Portuguese Empire and provides new insights into the workings of colonial social networks. The results will be of great importance to academic communities studying the history of the Portuguese Empire or transatlantic power structures.
Collaborators of this project are Prof. Dr. Juciene Cardoso (Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil), Dr. Demival Vasques Filho (Leibniz Institute of European History – IEG, Germany) and Dr. Michal Bojanowski (Kozminski University, Poland).

ręce

DARIAH-PL - Research infrastructure for the arts and humanities

Research Assistant (2022-currenty)

DARIAH-PL is a development project funded under the Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014-2020 in the area „Development of modern research infrastructure of the science sector” with an objective to build a research infrastructure for digital humanities. The infrastructure has been placed on the Polish Research Infrastructure Map in the area of social sciences and humanities. It is designed to acquire, store and integrate cultural data from the humanities and social sciences, as well as to process, visualize, and share digital resources.

Project objectives
The aim of the project is to build Dariah.lab infrastructure which includes hardware and software tools using state-of-the-art technological solutions and integrated digital resources from various fields of humanities and arts sciences. The network of distributed research laboratories constituting Dariah.lab is designed on the basis of a research agenda developed by the consortium members. It consistes of Source Laboratory, Automatic Enrichement Laboratory, Supervised Semantic Discovery Laboratory, Intelligent Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory, and Advanced Visualization Laboratory.

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The Portuguese overseas identity in the context of the social network analysis
National Science Center of Poland: 2017/27/N/HS3/01104

Principal Investigator (2018-2021)

The project aimed to analyze the Portuguese overseas identity in the Atlantic Ocean basin during 1642-1755 using Social Network Analysis. The research verified the connections between the administrative structures and the inhabitants of the colonial outskirts. The overseas identity was regarded as result of different relationships formed between diverse social actors. In this research, we combined the history of the Portuguese colonial empire with modern tools, which are scarce research methods in the existing historiography in Poland and the Portuguese-speaking regions. This provided an innovative approach to understanding the Portuguese empire from a broader perspective, analyzing it as a system of colonial interconnections.

Port

Bolsas de Investigação para Estrangeiros - Research Grants for Foreigners

Scholarship holder (2016-2017)

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation offered a grant to support research carried out in Portugal by researchers of foreign nationality pursuing a doctorate in the field of the history of Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries.

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