The focus will be on how tools like GIS (Geographic Information Systems) among others can help us to analyze and visualize complex data, whether derived from texts or physical spaces.
Philip Stern, Assistant Professor of History at Duke University, and a graduate of the Wesleyan class of 1997, will anchor the workshop by discussing his first attempts at coping with this complex subject. His remarks are called “Seeing the Past, Visualizing the Future: Possibilities (and Challenges) of Digital Mapping for the Humanties, Social Science, and Beyond”. Phil has a strong interest in cartography for his next current book project, but is very interested as well in the use of network models and the analysis of political and legal texts, all of which he’s been exploring at the Humanities Center at Duke, where he co-directs one of their experimental Humanities Labs, called Borderworks. Within that Lab, research and teaching are tightly knit and the teaching possibilities of digital methods are clear.
Here are some links he considers useful to see what he’s playing at:
- some text visualization: http://guides.library.duke.edu/text_vis
- a student project trying to visualise Cook’s encounter with Tahiti through his jourals:http://visualizingtahiti.wordpress.com
- two platform he’s been playing with:https://gephi.org andhttp://hypercities.com
Philip Stern has just won a sizeable three-year grant from the Mellon Foundation as part of their New Directions initiative for developing his skills and work in this direction and the workshop is imagined as way we can help him as much as he help introduce us to his project and the techniques he’s considering bringing to his questions. Wesleyan expertise on early modern geography and GIS will be on hand to contribute to our conversation about what’s possible.
Phil received his PhD from Columbia University and his first book, The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Origins of the British Empire in India (Oxford University Press, 2011) won a major prize from the American Historical Association. The substance of his work consistently engages legal, geographical, intellectual, and economic issues within the historical framework.
I hope you can come out to discuss his ideas, our own ideas about how best to advance methods of visualization across the university and within the curriculum, and even if you just were wondering a bit about what GIS is and what it might do for you.