Homework Day_5: Ways that spatial humanities techniques might influence my scholarship.

In my dissertation work, I had already begun to experiment with spatial humanities techniques (although I did not know that was the term for them), by working with GoogleMaps and placing pins on the known ‘haunts’ of Degas in Rome, Naples and Florence, and then (as my dissertation is very analog) saving those maps as jpgs and including them as figures in the final product. The results were static, and (admittedly) not too helpful for readers.

From the get-go of my dissertation, I was frustrated with the limitations of more traditional tools, and had developed a few small-scale hacks to try and work through the limitations (e.g. the static GoogleMaps), but the experience left me wanting. Thus, this experience was important as it was one of the catalysts to get me thinking about how (what I learned is called ‘digital humanities’) could help me push arguments further/engage with the information in different ways/etc., and lead me to this point in my development as a provisional D(A)H.

Fast forward to the crystallization of my thinking on Mapping Paris, i.e. summer of 2013: in the first iterations of the project, I planned to simultaneously to plot the social AND spatial maps of the artists (and their circles) living and working in Paris between the years of 1855-1889, but as the project truly moved into its planning stages, I realized that not only did I need create geographical and temporal limitations (which would be easily expandable), but I decided that I needed to limit the project to the social sphere only, in order to make it focused and do-able in the short(er) term.

Long story, short: the spatial elements are going on the back-burner for now, but I am excited to learn about them, and think about ways to incorporate them at least into my pedagogy in the short-term. I also think that I will include in the design of the database, a field for spatial information, in the hope that as the project grows, that the component can be ‘easily’ [and I knocked on wood as I wrote that] tacked on at a later date.

In other news, do keep an eye on the Drupal MappingParis website (which is still bare-bones), which I am using at the moment as a sandbox/showcase for some of the tools that we have learned. The contents of my attempts are slim-to-none, but the tools themselves are what is of import.

Note: the link did not work when I first posted it, but I have corrected the error here and in the original blog post.

Source: Homework Day_5: Ways that spatial humanities techniques might influence my scholarship.