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Tag: spatial history

What am I looking for in a dissertation?

Well it’s been a couple of months and a dissertation topic has still not fallen from the sky into my lap. No worries. I hear dissertations take a long time. Instead of trying to locate a specific topic, I have begun thinking about what I want in a dissertation topic. Two things have particularly stuck out in my musings about a topic, examining space and social relationships. Social Relationships Though I have enjoyed the topic from my MA thesis, I found some of my methods a little unsatisfactory. I feel like I had an adequate handle on the Grand Rapids…

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Spatial History

[This post is a reading reflection written for UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. This week’s readings were Richard White, “What is Spatial History?, David Staley’s “Historical Visualizations,” and Phil Ethington’s Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge] Of all the the subfields of history, spatial history benefits most from the emergence of digital tools. As Richard White humbly points out, the spatial turn in history is a turn and not a discovery. Historians, he mentions William Cronon and Fernand Braudel in particular, have used spatial analysis in works before long before the emergence of the digital humanities. In fact,…



Historypin allows users to place (or “pin”) old photographs onto a map. Users can then explore the map, viewing others’ photos in nearby cities, states, or countries. In most cases, the photos are placed on top of the current Google Maps streetview image, merging the past and present in one view. Historypin also provides “tours” and “collections.” During tours, users see a series of related (or at least related in the sense that someone organized them into a tour) photos overlaid onto sections of the current streetview (if possible). Collections are similar, presenting photos in a slideshow format organized by…

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Spatializing GR

I am currently coming down the home stretch for my MA thesis and it has been keeping me quite busy. My thesis work actually made me miss a blog post last week (I am sure people were heartbroken). This week as a sort of compromise with myself I am posting an excerpt. Granted, this is a very rough section of the second draft of my first chapter. In my digital project I added a spatial element to my research, something I have continued in my work. The excerpt below is the base layer of an introduction to the city’s elite.…



PBS: TileMill is a modern map design studio that lets you design maps for the web using your own data or any publicly available data set. What makes TileMill unique is that it allows anyone who understands the idea behind CSS in web design to quickly and easily design custom maps.

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Spatial history and interdisciplinarity

Cliotropic: Humanities training is useful in capturing the texture and details of individual experiences, and I want to use mapping tools in an exploratory way to visualize things that I might see as trends. The kinds of analysis I’m interested in are more like how qualitative social scientists use interview-coding software to analyze their interviews with research subjects. It’s possible that GIS isn’t the tool I need and that Google Maps is a better option, but I want to be in an interdisciplinary community where I can meet people who do spatially-oriented work and learn from them.

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