Rani-Henrik Andersson is Senior University Lecturer in North American Studies at the University of Helsinki. In addition to his Collegium project he is working on another project that looks at the relationships between Native Americans and national parks. While realizing that challenges still persist and that nation-states have a long way to go toward restoring indigenous access to and management over these spaces, this project seeks to investigate examples of successful collaborations between indigenous peoples and non-native stakeholders of protected spaces of nature.
Social Network Analysis and Computer Modeling in the Study of the Human Past: Three Case Studies on New Research Methods
Social network analysis (SNA) and computer modeling are one of the most promising areas of inquiry in the social sciences and computer science, and have even more potential in the humanities. Large datasets and new data modeling tools allow people to explore and visualize problems that were previously beyond the grasp of a researcher using traditional methods. These computer tools and research methodologies can be used to better understand historical, anthropological, sociological, and demographic issues in almost any context. They will have a profound impact on, for example, studying human migrations, kinship networks, minority group responses to external pressures, relationships between individuals and institutions, and other questions of complicated human relationships. Dynamic network analysis takes the traditional social network analysis methods a step further by investigating how networks evolve over time.
Andersson's project consists of three case studies that demonstrate the versatility of Dynamic network modeling in different historical and cultural circumstances focusing, for example, the Lakota Indians in the late 19th and early 20th century and Finnish immigration to Sugar Island, Michigan, in the early 20th century.