Contact person:
Fredrik Mohammadi Norén
  • Riksbankens jubileumsfond
Project members:
Collaborators and other project members:
  • Project leader: Pelle Snickars (Lund University)
  • Project researcher: Emil Stjernholm (Lund University)
  • Project researcher: Maria Eriksson (University of Basel)
Time frame:
01 January 2022 - 31 December 2025

About the project

What is it that software sees, hears and perceives when technologies for pattern recognition are applied to media historical sources? All historical work requires interpretation, but what kind of algorithmic interpretations of modernity does software yield from historical archives?

  • MODERN-36 is empirically committed to everyday experiences and sets out to study how machines interpret symbols of modernity in media from 1936. By utilising photographic and audiovisual collections,
  • MODERN-36 seeks to analyse how modern Sweden was, while also exploring how computational methods can help us understand modernity in new ways.
  • MODERN-36 will explore how artificial intelligence and machine learning methods can foster new knowledge about the history of Swedish modernity––while at the same time critically scrutinizing algorithmic toolboxes for the study of the past.
  • MODERN-36 will use three datasets from 1936: 15,000 digitized photographs from DigitaltMuseum, all surviving radio programs from Swedish Radio, and all weekly newsreels and short films produced by Svensk Filmindustri.

The research focuses on modernity in relation to gender, urbanity and industrialization, and will:

  1. examine how software can assist historians in discerning new historical knowledge,
  2. construct midsize and curated datasets that increase the scholarly capacity of media historical sources, and
  3. interrogate algorithmic detection by evaluating what machines can—or cannot—notice in historic data.