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Introducing: Ruben Ros

In September 2022, Ruben Ros started working at the Institute for History as a PhD candidate. Below he introduces himself!

My project is about the history of technocracy (meaning something like "expert government"). I'm interested in the way the growing reliance on science and expertise has impacted political debate over the long-term. I study parliamentary proceedings to see how this played out in the Netherlands over the past century.

My research builds extensively on computational methods to study the structural transformations in political debate. That means I am usually writing or reading in the morning and programming in the afternoon. It's an exciting approach, since it offers lots of opportunities for long-term analysis and also forces you to think in a different way about historical research.

It is no coincidence that I'm based not only at the Institute for History, but also at the Leiden Center for Digital Humanities, around the corner in the P.J. Veth building. Part of my job here is to promote digital methods among all who are interested in the Huizinga building. This also include welcoming researchers in our Digital Lab to help with any questions around digitization, computational analysis or data management. So if you need any assistance, come to the lab! We also recently started a small (reading) group for historians interested in computational methods.

My interest in computational history started in Utrecht, where I did my Research Master's in History and wrote a thesis on the conceptual history of "the foreign" in Dutch newspapers. After that, I worked on several project in the wondrous world of Digital Humanities. I studied newspapers and iconic images, but I decided to pursue my interest in political history in my PhD project.

I'm beyond excited to be in Leiden, the place where our beloved king Willem Alexander - who accidentally has the same name as our baby son - once studied history. Especially after working remotely for two years I'm incredibly happy to be welcomed in such a close community of historians.

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