Readers Share Their Spatial-Humanities Projects By PATRICIA COHEN
The Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia Library has developed a newWeb site for the up-and-coming generation of digital mapmakers. Bethany Nowviskie, the director of digital scholarship at the library, explained that the site serves as both a clearinghouse of projects and sourcebook of information for those interested in using Geographic Information Systems in their scholarship.
Click on the Animated Atlas of African History and you can look up economic and demographic trends, violent conflicts, and changing territory names in any year between 1879 and 2002. Or go to Pleiades to use or share historical geographic information about the Greek and Roman world in digital form.
The Scholars’ Lab site also includes short essays on what the trend means to anthropology, literature, religion and architecture; articles, research and monographs related to spatial humanities; and step-by-step tutorials on how to use the new tools and resources for teaching and scholarly work. It describes how to convert a list of street addresses to points on a map, or how to make historic maps spatial. As Ms. Nowviskie said, “There’s a groundswell in this activity because scholars hold these tools every day in the palm of their hands.”
Readers have been writing in to share their investigations in the spatial humanities.
Miguel Centeno, a professor of sociology and international affairs at Princeton, has created maps on globalization and trade.
Eleanor Selfridge-Field, a consulting professor of music and symbolic systems at Stanford, said there was a lot of interesting work in digital musicology, in which scholars are using spatial representations of harmonic (musical) form like this one at a Beethoven symphony page. “What they are mapping is cognitive space,” she writes.
Annette M. Kim, an associate professor of urban studies and planning at M.I.T., has created maps about Vietnamese sidewalk life.