This week’s class is dedicated to mapping, for which I’m very excited because I envision my project primarily as a mapping project. The readings for this week were actually largely built around examples of existing mapping projects and previews of some of the various mapping tools available. For example, one of my favorite projects was Visualizing Emancipation, which mapped emancipation events and the locations of Union army troops onto a map of where slavery was legal. I really liked the interplay of the different types of information represented on the map as well as the fact that each item was toggle-able, which really offers opportunity for a number of different interpretations.
Additionally, one of our readings highlighted the importance of maps as tools for the furthering of history, as well as their role as a point of accessibility for the digital humanities. I think that’s an important point, especially considering the influential role that maps and cartographers have played in the shaping of the modern world. Furthermore, I also found interesting (and enlightening) the insight that maps have to be read as critically and with the same kind of text that one might use in evaluating textual sources. I think that maps are often marginalized as repositories of information constructed elsewhere, as opposed to documents that actually present new conceptualizations of the world and generate information in and of themselves.
All this being said, I definitely enjoyed getting to browse through a collection of various mapping DH projects and play around (ever so slightly) with some of the tools. I will confess, however, that I still remain confused about how to use many of the tools presented in the readings and look forward to learning about them in class on Wednesday so that I can really dig into my own project!
As per usual, thanks for reading!