Research interests:

Cultural studies, American Studies, Consumer Studies, Philosophy, Digital Humanities, Data Visualization, Indie Music, Postmodern Theory and Critical Theory. 

Strategic themes / Focus areas
Involved in the following study programme(s)
Scientific expertise
Cultural Theory
corpus linguistics
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Curriculum vitae

2016 - Fellow @ Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics - UCLA

2015 - Visiting Researcher @ British Library - London

2010 - RMA Cultural Analysis (Cum Laude, GPA 4,0) - University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2009 - MA American Studies (Cum Laude, GPA 4,0) - Utrecht University, The Netherlands

2006 - MSc Psychology - Utrecht University, The Netherlands


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All publications
  2016 - Scholarly publications
Martinez-Ortiz, Carlos, Kenter, Tom, Wevers, Melvin, Huijnen, Pim, Verheul, Jaap & Van Eijnatten, Joris (2016). Design and implementation of ShiCo - Visualising shifting concepts over time. In Marten Düring, Adam Jatowt, Johannes Preiser-Kappeller & Antal van Den Bosch (Eds.), HistoInformatics 2016 - Proceedings of the 3rd HistoInformatics Workshop on Computational History (HistoInformatics 2016), Krakow, Poland, July 11, 2016 (pp. 11-19) (9 p.).
  2015 - Scholarly publications
Huijnen, Pim & Wevers, Melvin (2015). Digital Deconstruction - The Digital Turn and the use of news media as sources for historical research. Officina della storia (issue nr 13).
  2015 - Other output
Kenter, Tom, Wevers, M.J.H.F., Huijnen, P. & de Rijke, Maarten (2015). Ad hoc monitoring of vocabulary shifts over time.
Wevers, M.J.H.F., Kenter, Tom & Huijnen, P. (2015). Concepts through time: Tracing Concepts in Dutch Newspaper Discourse (1890-1990) using Word Embeddings.
M.J.H.F. Wevers (25.02.2015) Doing Digital History
M.J.H.F. Wevers (13.05.2015) Huizinga Masterclass - David Armitage
M.J.H.F. Wevers (08.06.2015) Paper (with Jesper Verhoef) - The Digital Humanities Cycle: Doing Digital History Iteratively.
M.J.H.F. Wevers (09.06.2015) Paper (with Tessa Hauswedell) - Reporting the Empire - The Pall Mall Gazette 1870-1900
M.J.H.F. Wevers (03.01.2015) Paper: Blending in the American Taste - Referring to the United States via Technologies of Taste
M.J.H.F. Wevers (22.09.2015) Talk: Concepts Through Time: An Conceptual History Approach to Concepts in Digitized Newspapers using Distributional Semantics
M.J.H.F. Wevers (25.02.2015) Talk: Doing Digital History
M.J.H.F. Wevers (06.01.2015) Talk: Heuristics, Hermeneutics, and Source Criticism in a Digital Age
M.J.H.F. Wevers (28.01.2015) THATCamp Utrecht
  2014 - Scholarly publications
Wevers, Melvin & Huijnen, Pim (2014). Mapping America in Dutch Public Discourse - A Digital Approach to Researching the United States as a Reference Culture . In Michal Peprnik & Matthew Sweney (Eds.), America in Foreign Media - Olomouc American Studies - Conference Proceedings 2013 (pp. 109-126). Olomouc.
  2014 - Other output
M.J.H.F. Wevers (06.04.2014) Paper - American Blends In. The American Blended Cigarette in the Interwar Period.
M.J.H.F. Wevers (11.06.2014) Paper: Between Flappers and ‘Bakvissen’. The Emancipatory Potential of the American Female Smoker in Dutch Consumer Society.
M.J.H.F. Wevers (01.10.2014) Paper: Word2Vec. A digital humanities approach to discursive formations/assemblages
  2013 - Other output
M.J.H.F. Wevers (19.11.2013) Talk (with Bram Mellink): Putting the Human Back in Digital Humanities
  2010 - Scholarly publications
Wevers, M.J.H.F. (2010). Embryonic - The Flaming Lips, 2009. Popular Music and Society, 33 (5), (pp. 695) (701 p.).
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Consuming America

My research explores the concept of reference culture through the methodological lens of digital humanities, by examining the United States as a reference culture within Dutch consumer society throughout the twentieth century. The concept of reference culture is used to understand the ways the United States is referenced in terms of consumers, producers, and goods. The analysis of digitized newspapers serves as an entry point into this map of references within public discourse.  

This research is part of the Translantis project: E-Humanity Approaches to Reference Cultures: The Emergence of the United States in Public Discourse in the Netherlands, 1890-1990

E-Humanity Approaches to Reference Cultures: The Emergence of the United States in Public Discourse in the Netherlands, 1890-1990
01.10.2012 to 30.11.2017
General project description 

This project uses digital technologies to analyze the role of reference cultures in debates about social issues and collective identities, looking specifically at the emergence of the United States in public discourse in the Netherlands from the end of the nineteenth century to the end of the Cold War. It introduces the concept of reference culture as a crucial addition to the humanities toolbox to discuss long-term asymmetrical processes of cultural exchange involving dimensions of power and hegemony. The concept recognizes the fact that some cultures assume a dominant role in the international circulation of knowledge and practices, offering or imposing a model that others imitate, adapt, or resist. More specifically, the project will add to our understanding of the global position of the Netherlands as a knowledge-based economy thriving on the innovation that emerges from international cultural encounters.
Reference cultures are mental constructs that do not necessarily represent a geopolitical reality with an internal hierarchy and recognizable borders. These culturally conditioned images of trans-national models are typically established and negotiated in public discourses over a long period of time. However, the specific historical dynamics of reference cultures have never been systematically analyzed and hence are not fully understood. To explore these dynamics, this project asks three interrelated questions.

  1. How were ideas, products and practices associated with the United States valued in Dutch public discourse between 1890 and 1990?

  2. How can e-tools be used to map trends and changes in relation to the economic power, cultural acceptance, and scientific and technological impact of the United States as reference culture?

  3. How does public discourse reflect and influence the emergence and impact of reference cultures?

We propose that the key to understanding the emergence and dominance of reference cultures is to chart the public discourse in which these collective frames of reference are established. The availability of a large digital data collection in the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) enables us for the first time to study long-term developments and transformations in these national discourses in a systematic, longitudinal, and quantifiable way by using innovative text-mining tools. These e-research tools allow us to test the value of qualitative heuristic models and to pair them in a meaningful fashion with quantitative methodology. This will demonstrate that conclusions based on large quantifiable data sets concerning public debates open new vistas in humanities research because they (a) provide a robust framework for contextualizing conclusions based on traditional qualitative research; and (b) directly complement numerical data sets provided by other researchers, for example on economic and social trends.

Role PhD Candidate Funding
NWO grant
Project members UU
External project members:
  • prof.dr. Toine Pieters
  • dr. Charles van den Heuvel
  • prof.dr. Maarten de Rijke

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Additional functions and activities

Reviewer - Junctions Graduate Journal of the Humanities

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Full name
drs. M.J.H.F. Wevers MA Contact details
Drift 6

Drift 6
Room 0.25
The Netherlands

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Last updated 21.12.2016