EMOB readers may be interested in a new digital humanities project, Mediate, based at Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Funded by the European Research Council, Mediate is headed by Professor Alicia C. Montoya. Through the use of a robustly designed database of library auction catalogs, this multi-component project seeks to develop a new avenue for Enlightenment studies. While prior lenses for studying the Enlightenment have focused on either the canonical, history-of-ideas texts or the forbidden, underground works of the time, Mediate aims to study the middlebrow bestsellers and their overlooked role in shaping the Enlightenment. In doing so, the project seeks to “propose a new conceptual framework that takes as its starting-point the heuristic concept of middlebrow culture” (http://mediate18.nl/?page=home).
As the project’s website explains,”The MEDIATE project is organized in six interrelated subprojects:
- MEDIATE database construction (Van de Camp)
- Mapping the field: library auction catalogues, books and their circulation (Blom)
- Readers: Library owners, reception networks
- Still to be determined
- Texts: Sampling religious works
- Synthesis: Toward a new history of “the” Enlightenment (Montoya)”
(See Mediate website, “about”)
Not surprisingly, its project partner is Western Sydney University, the new home of Prof. Simmon Burrows and his The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE) database that we have previously written about.
Mediate project members have begun to present their work, with this past July seeing a number of demonstrations including at the SHARP 2016 conference in Paris and the Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium at Western Sydney University.