Rethinking Archives through Digital Mapping

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Historical Geography Specialty Group, Digital Geographies Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Zulu, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Organizers: Susan Gagliardi, Yanna Yannakakis
Chairs: Susan Gagliardi


In an essay on interdisciplinary challenges with and possibilities for historical GIS (HGIS), geographer Anne Kelly Knowles observes that “history’s classic mode of communication is narrative, while geography finds its most distinctive expression in the visual, synoptic presentation of evidence in maps.” Knowles argues that joining historical and geographical inquiry leads to fresh insights, and she posits that HGIS stands to transform understanding of history. But historians, including art historians, who turn to computational analysis continue to experience disciplinary discomfort with the approach even when it requires them to examine archives or other collections of historical documents in fresh ways. Historians’ longstanding preference for text and distrust of data-driven visualizations likely fuels this discomfort.

This session focuses on archives and other collections of historical documents, material long considered the purview of historians. It asks how humanists’ turn to computational analysis has reshaped understanding of historical documents and the information or data the documents contain. Presenters in this session will draw on specific examples to examine how humanists generate spatial data from archives or other collections of historical documents, how they visualize those data, and how this process changes their understanding of the documents and the narratives the documents tell. Presenters may reflect on how computational analysis of space facilitates or reconfigures historians’ efforts to identify and probe silences in archives or other historical documents. They may also investigate how spatial analysis helps historians, including art historians, expand understanding of what humanities data are and refine methods for humanistic inquiry.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Susan Gagliardi Emory University 5 10:00 AM
Presenter Jeffrey Erbig*, , The Geographical Gymnastics of Borderland Archives 20 10:05 AM
Presenter Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi*, University of California - Riverside, Mapmaking, West African Cities, and the Colonial Archive 20 10:25 AM
Presenter Alexander Cors*, Emory University Libraries, Mapping Colonial Louisiana: Settlement Patterns and Ethnic Integration in Spanish Louisiana 20 10:45 AM
Presenter Yanna Yannakakis*, Emory University Libraries, From the Archive to the Map: Native Legal Agency in Eighteenth Century Oaxaca, Mexico 20 11:05 AM
Discussant S. Wright Kennedy Rice University 15 11:25 AM

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