We live in a networked world. Online social networking platforms and the World Wide Web have changed how society thinks about connectivity. Because of the technological nature of such networks, their study has predominantly taken place within the domains of computer science and related scientific fields. But arts and humanities scholars are increasingly using the same kinds of visual and quantitative analysis to shed light on aspects of culture and society hitherto concealed. Written by Ruth Ahnert, Sebastian Ahnert, Nicole Coleman, and Scott Weingart, The Network Turn: Changing Perspectives in the Humanities (Cambridge UP, 2021) contends that networks are a category of study that cuts across traditional academic barriers, uniting diverse disciplines through a shared understanding of complexity in our world. Moreover, we are at a moment in time when it is crucial that arts and humanities scholars join the critique of how large-scale network data and advanced network analysis are being harnessed for the purposes of power, surveillance, and commercial gain.
Ruth Ahnert is Professor of Literary History and Digital Humanities, Queen Mary University of London.
Sebastian Ahnert is University Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge.
Nicole Coleman is Digital Research Architect, Stanford University Libraries.
Scott Weingart is Director of the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Notre Dame.
Katie McDonough is Senior Research Associate, The Alan Turing Institute.