Dissident Networks Project

The “Dissident Networks Project” (DISSINET) hosted at Masaryk University’s Centre for the Digital Research of Religion, is a research initiative exploring dissident religious cultures in medieval Europe from the perspective of social network analysis and geographic information science. It uses computational methods to shed new light on the social microstructure and spatiality of medieval dissident Christianities, on inquisitorial trials and records and, by extension, on medieval social networks, the functioning of covert networks, and the emergence of religion from local interactions.

The DISSINET project covers various dissident religious cultures in Languedoc from the 1170s to the 1320s; Lombardy and Tuscany from the 1230s to the 1300s; and England from the 15th to the 16th centuries, such as Cathars, Waldensians, Guglielmites, Beguins, Fraticelli, and Lollards.

For the years 2019-2023, the project is funded by an EXPRO (“Projects of Excellence”) grant from the Czech Science Foundation (project No. GX19-26975X “Dissident Religious Cultures in Medieval Europe from the Perspective of Social Network Analysis and Geographic Information Systems”). We gratefully acknowledge this financial support.

DISSINET in brief

  • the close and critical reading of sources combined with computational techniques of exploration, analysis, and visualisation;
  • synergy between quantitative and qualitative research;
  • a representative selection of medieval inquisitorial records and dissident religious cultures;
  • a focus on richly characterized interactions between particular historical actors;
  • 15,000 persons, 150,000 ties, and 2,000 localities (target volume by 2023);
  • outcomes in the form of articles, interactive maps, dashboards, software tools, and datasets.

“Not only will DISSINET cover new ground in medieval studies and history; it will also help form a new generation of researchers who combine strong domain knowledge with a set of promising digital technologies.”

A peer review of the EXPRO grant application