The Spatial Humanities

The Spatial Humanities

GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship
Edited by David J. Bodenhamer, John Corrigan and Trevor M. Harris
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/28/2010
Format: Paperback 25 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22217-6
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Geographic information systems (GIS) have spurred a renewed interest in the influence of geographical space on human behavior and cultural development. Ideally GIS enables humanities scholars to discover relationships of memory, artifact, and experience that exist in a particular place and across time. Although successfully used by other disciplines, efforts by humanists to apply GIS and the spatial analytic method in their studies have been limited and halting. The Spatial Humanities aims to re-orient—and perhaps revolutionize—humanities scholarship by critically engaging the technology and specifically directing it to the subject matter of the humanities. To this end, the contributors explore the potential of spatial methods such as text-based geographical analysis, multimedia GIS, animated maps, deep contingency, deep mapping, and the geo-spatial semantic web.

Author Bio

David J. Bodenhamer is Executive Director of the Polis Center and Professor of History at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

John Corrigan is Lucius Moody Bristol Distinguished Professor of Religion and Professor of History at Florida State University.

Trevor M. Harris is Eberly Professor of Geography and Chair of the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University.


“This book aims to re-orient—and perhaps revolutionize—humanities scholarship. To this end, the contributors explore the potential of spatial methods such as text-based geographical analysis, multimedia GIS, animated maps, deep contingency, deep mapping, and the geo-spatial semantic web.”

“Space—whether it be the space of the choreographer's dance floor, the artist's canvas, or the religious shrine—has always been important to humanist scholarship. But in recent years a virtual explosion of new data, tools, and concepts has revolutionized our ability to examine the relationships, patterns, and contexts that emerge when the human world is examined through a spatial lens. This book brings these ideas into focus for the first time, presenting a cornucopia of ideas, examples, methods, and suggestions for further reading that will be invaluable to anyone seeking to adopt a spatial approach to humanist scholarship, or to understand why it has attracted so much recent attention.”
 — Michael F. Goodchild, University of California, Santa Barbara

“An exciting and useful collection that offers great potential to shape the humanities. In many important ways the volume succeeds in showing how spatial analysis might be essential for humanities scholarship and more specifically what some of the possibilities might be.”
 — Will Thomas, University of Nebraska

“The first attempt to tackle the issue of the humanities as an epistemic unit head-on, and to consider what the use of GIS . . . can bring to them. . . . The technical quality of the chapters is uniformly high: side-by-side they form a wide-ranging account, admirable in its ambition and scope, and authored by contributors who are recognized experts in their fields. The documentation and footnoting are exemplary, and the reader new to the field will find the further reading sections at the end extremely valuable.”
 — Literary and Linguistic Computing

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Table of Contents

1. Turning toward Place, Space, and Time / Edward L. Ayers
2. The Potential of Spatial Humanities / David J. Bodenhamer
3. Geographic Information Science and Spatial Analysis for the Humanities / Karen K. Kemp
4. Exploiting Time and Space: A Challenge for GIS in the Digital Humanities / Ian Gregory
5. Qualitative GIS and Emergent Semantics / John Corrigan
6. Representations of Space and Place in the Humanities / Gary Lock
7. Mapping Text / May Yuan
8. The Geospatial Semantic Web, Pareto GIS, and the Humanities / Trevor M. Harris, L. Jesse Rouse, and Susan Bergeron
9. GIS, e-Science, and the Humanities Grid / Paul S. Ell
10. Challenges for the Spatial Humanities: Toward a Research Agenda / Trevor M. Harris, John Corrigan, and David J. Bodenhamer
Suggestions for Further Reading
List of Contributors