PhD @ University of Luxembourg

The current title of my PhD research project at the University of Luxembourg is Shaping a digital memory platform on migration narratives: A public history project on Italian and Portuguese migration memories in Luxembourg. This was the name I gave to the research proposal that was submitted to the National Research Fund, Luxembourg on March 2015, which, to my joy, was successful evaluated as I found out by June.  It is so good to know that I will have their support to conduct my research in Luxembourg. I might also to take this opportunity to say that this will be the first time in my life I will be able to only work on my research, without any parallel, part-time jobs. And it is so rewarding to have my research efforts recognised. As a half-Brazilian, half-Italian young researcher, I feel lucky, but also very privileged in being supported by this funder institution.

This research aims at studying migration narratives in Luxembourg combining a plural cultural history framework with a systematical historical comparison of the mediated memories of two specific groups of immigrants in the Grand Duchy – the Italian and the Portuguese – and their different generations’ narratives. Approaching the subject from the perspective of “History from Below” and using an innovative methodological apparatus built on oral history and digital and public history methods this research expects to encounter an alternative storytelling for these immigrants with acknowledgment to their own agency as historical actors. To access and interpret the migration narratives of diverse generations of Italian and Portuguese in Luxembourg, the project will employ a digital toolkit which will be tested in the examination of different bodies of sources (ego-documents, oral history, published material), enabling a “scalable reading” text analysis of the whole corpora. One of the main outcomes of this project, besides the PhD thesis itself, is the shaping, together with the community, of a platform for digital storytelling on migration in Luxembourg, aiming at sharing memories of different generations and communities online. The process of building and running this “platform” as an example of doing public history with the means of digital tools and technologies is the central empirical challenge of this project. The platform will allow to test tools for doing digital history online (text mining and visualization software) and to actively engage with the “object of study” itself that is the different generations of Italian and Portuguese migrants in Luxembourg, sharing with them, the authority of the project. Doing so, the projects aims at contributing to the Luxembourgish historiography on migration, as well as to reflect on the methodological and epistemological debates in the field of digital history / digital humanities, by evaluating the effect historical crowdsourcing and digital source criticism to the historiographical operation.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers, Faculté des Lettres, des Sciences Humaines, des Arts et des Sciences de l’Education, Identités. Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE), University of Luxembourg.

See also the full project description (with preliminary hypothesis, research objectives, methodology session and references).

I will be posting more on the developments of the PhD on the PhD Research Diary’s tag. So, more details on my research questions will come soon, and gradually, in the blog posts itself. As I mentioned in the about section, I will also be posting about the first experiences of the Digital History Lab at the University of Luxembourg, which the playground zone I have the pleasure to share with my colleague Max Kemman. Apropos, Max is currently working on a very interesting and promising research on Digital History as Trading Zone, also together with Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers.

Well, that is it by now. I hope you will enjoy the reading and, hopefully, share your comments with me.

The present project is supported by the National Research Fund, Luxembourg.