Inaugural Meeting

On 3-4 October 2018, the 18 participants to the ERC ENP-China project (ENP-MUC) met for two days of intensive discussion at the Maison de la Recherche in the Schuman Campus of Aix-Marseille University. Prof. Pierre-Yves Gilles, dean of the Faculty of Arts, Letters, Languages and Humanities delivered a heart-warming welcome speech to kick off the meeting.

The presentations and debates were spread over four panels:

  • The project: prospects and challenges
  • Methodological issues: NLP and machine learning
  • Methodological issues: Databases and information systems
  • Work organization: planning, meeting, toolbox, communication

All through the meeting, ample time was left for debating major aspect of the project, such as the issue of sources, of historical objectives, as well as the crucial question of connecting and articulating historical inquiry and digital methods such as we plan to implement. In particular, the nature of the Chinese language and its evolution over the century under study raised very challenging questions from the audience. Brainstorming over sources also contributed to pointing out unsuspected resources.

A central function of the meeting was definitely for all the participants to gather for the first time, to get to know each other, and to address the common challenge of collaborating on an ambitious project from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. There was a general atmosphere of genuine intellectual curiosity about the potential of harnessing a broad range of techniques in language processing and computing to delve into complex and massive historical documents.

One of the conditions for the successful implementation of the project is seamless communication. To achieve this necessary objective for an international team spread over Europe and Asia, we shall harness advanced digital tools for team work,  such as a collaborative platform, but the emphasis will also be  on regular team and group meetings through videoconferencing, as well as face-to-face seminars and training workshops.

Actively in meeting

Inaugural Meeting Agenda

3 October 2018 – Morning session – 9h-12h30
Welcome address (Dean of ALLSH)
Self-presentations (2 mn/participant)
The project: prospects and challenges (Christian Henriot)
Initial Q&A debate

One central question, three locations, and case studies: getting off the ground

  • Sources
  • Who and how?
  • External collaborations

3 October 2018 – Afternoon session – 14h-17h30
Methodological issues: NLP (Laurent Prévôt)
Q&A debate
Methodological issues: data mining to machine learning (Benoît Favre)
Q&A debate
Project management (Tommaso Zaccaro/Richard Ferrato)
Rules for publication & ERC acknowledgement
Q&A debate

4 October 2018 – Morning session – 9h-12h
Methodological issues: databases and information systems (Jean-Pierre Dedieu)
Q&A debate
Methodological issues: databases and information systems (Peter Cornwell)
The ERC Project & the future of data (Peter Cornwell)
Q&A debate

Connecting the dots: historical questions & digital methods
Connecting the dots: Upstream & downstream digital tool/resources

4 October 2018 – Afternoon session – 13h30-15h30
Work organization: planning and meetings (team seminar, training, etc.)
Work organization: the day-to-day toolbox
Work organization: good practices (and best ones too)
Work organization: project blog & web platform

Closing of meeting

List of participants

Christian Henriot, Aix-Marseille University/IrAsia (P.I.)

Cécile Armand, Aix-Marseille University (ERC)

Patrice Bellot, Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes

Julie Chiang, Aix-Marseille University (ERC)

Peter Cornwell, Westminster University/Data Futures

Jean-Pierre Dedieu, CNRS-Institut d’Asie Orientale

Benoît Favre, Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes

Feng Yi, CNRS/IrAsia

Luca Gabbiani, Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)

Andréa Linhares-Chevassu, Aix-Marseille University (ERC)

Lien Ling-ling, Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History

Pierre Magistry, Aix-Marseille University (ERC)

Xavier Paulès, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Laurent Prévôt, Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire Parole et Langage

Sun Huei-min, Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History

Wu Jen-shu, Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History

Katrine Wong, Lumière-Lyon 2 University

Cite this blog post
Christian Henriot (2018, October 7). Inaugural Meeting. Elites, Networks and Power in modern China. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from

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