As we (re-)write literary history in a global perspective, we engage with a vast multitude of perspectives and relations; because literary history will never fit into a multi-volume encyclopaedia it is in want of both a form and a format of representation. Research Area 5, "Building Digital Communities", sets out to model complex global entanglements, and critically reflects on how we (re-)construct 'temporal communities' both hermeneutically and digitally. In so doing, we test the Cluster's core concept against the constraints and implicit biases of the digital even as we simultaneously endeavour to explore the potential of computational approaches within the critical discourse of the humanities. We use the concrete activity of developing a model for the representation and analysis of literary communities as an opportunity to investigate the epistemic implications of visualisation and data-rich literary history.
Apart from contributing to the Cluster's research agenda from a digital humanist perspective, Research Area 5 also develops the Living Handbook of Temporal Communities (LHTC), an open access publication that serves as a point of reference for the Cluster's research methodology and terminology, and provides a platform for the EXC 2020 community that emerges both locally and globally.