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"Mapping the Digital Humanities" - Join the discussion!

Mapping the Digital Humanities

A HASTAC Scholars Discussion Forum open now at


Much has been said of maps, and it seems that---with technologies and software such as Loopt, the iPhone, ArcGIS, and Google Maps and Earth---people are becoming increasingly familiar with where, exactly, they are located. Of course, mapping suggests more than "you are here." It implies not only the delimiting of how people relate to each other, to space and place, and to objects, but also the study of how those relationships emerge. What's more, mapping is no doubt a slippery term. As scholars such as Willard McCarty note, it is affiliated with an array of other concepts and practices, such as modeling, diagramming, networking, and representation. With such affiliations in mind, this HASTAC discussion, facilitated by Jentery Sayers and Matthew W. Wilson, seeks to aggregate and unpack how "mapping" (broadly understood) is mobilized in different learning and research spaces, across the disciplines, in the field of the digital humanities:

  • How does mapping inform how scholars identify novel patterns in their own research and archives?
  • What does mapping afford pedagogy and classroom learning, and how does it foster collaboration and media expansion?
  • How do mapping projects by academics alter how they engage their community partners and publics, and vice versa?

Regardless of experience in or familiarity with the digital humanities, we invite participation from anyone who is currently involved in a mapping project. We imagine that contributors could include, but are certainly not limited to, critical geographers, cartographers, literary historians, artists, architects and urban planners, community-based researchers, cultural anthropologists, information scientists, students in digital humanities courses, public intellectuals, and scholars of new media, design, and composition.

Jentery Sayers is a PhD candidate in the Department of
English at the University of Washington (UW), and he teaches
computer-integrated courses situated in the digital humanities, new
media, and science and technology studies. In both his research and
teaching, he is invested not only in historicizing technology in
particular cultural contexts, but also exploring how it can be
mobilized through creative, critical and collaborative projects. His
dissertation, "Invisible Technologies?: Media Ecology and the Senses",
attends to how technology is culturally embedded in 19th and 20th
century Anglo-American literature, with particular emphasis on sound
technologies and their relation to print. In Spring 2009, he is
teaching two courses: ?Mapping the Digital Humanities" (an advanced
undergraduate course at UW-Seattle, in the Comparative History of Ideas
program) and "New Media Production" (an introductory arts technique
course at UW-Bothell, in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences). He has
been named a HASTAC Scholar, a UW Huckabay Teaching Fellow, and a UW
Science Studies Network Fellow for his technology-focused cultural
research and collaborations in the development of digital humanities
curricula. In 2009-10, he will be a dissertation fellow in the Society
of Scholars at the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the UW.

Matthew W. Wilson is currently a PhD candidate in the Department
of Geography at the University of Washington, and will be Assistant
Professor of Geography at Ball State University in the next academic
year. His research is situated across political, feminist, and urban
geography as well as science and technoculture studies, interfacing
these with the more specified field of ?critical geographic information
systems?. He is interested in how geographic information technologies
enable particular neighborhood assessment endeavors, and how these
kinds of geocoding activities mobilize notions of ?quality-of-life? and
?sustainability?. His dissertation research concentrates at the
intersections of several phenomena, namely the energies with which
nonprofit and community organizations approach neighborhood
quality-of-life issues, the increased role that geographic information
technologies have in addressing this kind of indicator work, as well as
the increased geocoding of city spaces more generally. In his fifth
year as an instructor with the University of Washington GIS Certificate
program, he lectures on principles of cartography and cartographic
critique. He also serves as the editorial assistant for Social &
Cultural Geography. He has been named a HASTAC Scholar and a Huckabay
Teaching Fellow, for his collaborative role in developing
interdisciplinary pedagogies for the digital humanities.


(Thanks to Flickr user dannysullivan for this image; please click on the photo to see the rest of dannysullivan's photostream.)


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