The Contribution of Spatial Humanities to Scholarship

The application of GIS mapping to humanities research has been recognized as a primary catalyst for what has been termed the “spatial turn” in humanities scholarship.  Despite tremendous excitement about the power of visualization to expose heretofore hidden relationships and patterns, it remains unclear just what these methodological techniques have contributed in terms of either raising new questions or answering longstanding ones.  This discussion will attempt to inventory some of the most interesting and ambitious efforts to employ spatial tools such as GIS mapping and 3D visualizations in humanities research and consider whether these spatial tools have the capacity to add significant value to humanities scholarship.

My particular interest is the field of urban history but I would be interested to learn how visualizations are employed for spatial analysis in other fields and disciplines within the humanities.

Categories: Session: Talk |
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About Andrew Hurley

I am a professor in the Department of History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. My fields of interest are urban history and public history. I am a member of the team that has developed the Virtual City, a software package that reconstructs lost urban landscapes digitally in 3D.

One Response to The Contribution of Spatial Humanities to Scholarship

  1. In linguistics (particularly dialectology and typology) GIS visualizations are increasingly employed to study & map dialect differences (word choices, pronunciations) and differences regarding major typological parameters (e.g. word order, sound systems). I am interested in modifying and re-employing these algorithms in a micro-area of four languages that I am documenting in Nepal. I’d like to consider not just the typical language features (e.g. word choices & pronunciations), but also social variables like language attitudes, language practices, etc. My colleague Shunfu Hu (SIUE Geography) and I will be at THATCamp this weekend. We are running a 5-year project on this documentation.

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