“Spatial Humanities”: Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives

Monday, March 24, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Strozier Library, Scholars Commons Instructional Classroom 107K [MAP

Please join us for a discussion with John Corrigan, Professor of History and Religion at Florida State University, who will talk on “‘Spatial Humanities': Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives,” the title of his forthcoming book, and a sequel to The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of the Humanities, which he co-edited in 2010. While the term “spatial humanities” has no clear origin, Corrigan — along with his collaborators David Bodenhamer (IUPUI Polis Center) and Trevor Harris (WVU) — have helped it to find a home in the academic glossary. Since 2010, numerous proposals to the NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant have incorporated the “spatial” as their premise, practice, or goal.

Participants are invited to read the following ahead of time:

and to browse the following projects and applications:

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One thought on ““Spatial Humanities”: Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives

  1. All disciplines have origin stories. David Bodenhamer offers one for spatial humanities, and at first blush, it seems a familiar one: a “scientific” technology (which we as humanists know is not really scientific), GIS, threatens to flatten the rich nuances of cartography available to us as local, contextual knowers. Not unimportantly, GIS is powered by corporate interests. It is Western, Cartesian. Based on a positive epistemology, the technology occludes its own ideology.
    By contrast, geography, to humanists, can be metaphorical, personal, even remembered. At this point, we might expect a technophobic manifesto, or at the very least a strong critique of science.
    Instead, Bodenhamer urges us to consider the ways that GIS might be adapted to humanistic interests. What emerges from the unlikely partnership is impressive projects like the “Rome Reborn” model.
    I am reminded of Barton and Barton’s “Ideology and the Map: Toward a Postmodern Visual Design Practice,” where they both critique the so-called “objectivity” of uncritical mapping practices, and urge the use of palimpsest to denaturalize such practices. This, to my reading, resembles the idea of deep mapping. And this idea, of course, is operationalized online in platforms like Google Earth and other geocaching technologies. We see it, additionally, in projects such as “Visualizing Emancipation.”
    Though I was unable to attend the lecture, I am excited about the possibilities of spatial humanities, and will continue monitoring developments in this area with interest.

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