Spatial Humanities and Project Ideas

The Spatial Humanities discusses the abilities of GIS in relation to history and the humanities. History has primarily been concerned more with time than with geography and space; the spatial humanities offers the ability to change that. Scholars have been looking into how GIS can be changed for and utilized better in the humanities. One of the possibilities in spatial humanities is mapping texts through spatialization, gazetteering and geoparsing, and geo-inference/geo-referencing. These three techniques would enable text to be mined for geographic clues that could be mapped, revealing patterns and clusters that could aid in humanities studies and research. Semantic analysis leads to text being mined and organized into tables, which can then be used in these maps and databases.

For my Digital Humanities class project on risk, I’ve heard a few ideas, but I’m still digging in. I think it could be interesting to do something on risk and loss and their various types; for example, comparing increasing fire insurance purchases with buying other types of insurance, like life and flood. A conceptual map on loss and risk is also an idea, as is mapping loss and layering more current trends to show change in time. Working on a visualization of pragmatism and risk dialogue from the nineteenth century is also a possibility.

If we need a personal interest idea for a visualization project, I was thinking of trying to do a map of historic manors/palaces (in Britain). I thought I could do a few layers based on who lived there (royals, nobility, both), use today (museum, home, both, other), number of visitors, and time open (all year, most of the year, part of the year, not at all). I’m not entirely sure of the why for this project idea yet, but I do think it’d be interesting to see the number and location of palaces and how they’re used today. Maybe it would come up with some questions I hadn’t considered before, since that is one of the uses of data and visualization in the humanities: not just to answer questions but to ask them also.

owl shirt from Jayme

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