Toward Spatial Humanities

Toward Spatial Humanities

Historical GIS and Spatial History
Edited by Ian N Gregory and Alistair Geddes
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/14/2014
Format: Paperback 46 b&w illus; 4 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-01186-2
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The application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to issues in history is among the most exciting developments in both digital and spatial humanities. Describing a wide variety of applications, the essays in this volume highlight the methodological and substantive implications of a spatial approach to history. They illustrate how the use of GIS is changing our understanding of the geographies of the past and has become the basis for new ways to study history. Contributors focus on current developments in the use of historical sources and explore the insights gained by applying GIS to develop historiography. Toward Spatial Humanities is a compelling demonstration of how GIS can contribute to our historical understanding.

Author Bio

Ian N. Gregory is Professor of Digital Humanities at Lancaster University. He is author or co-author of three books, including: Troubled Geographies: A Spatial History of Religion and Society in Ireland (IUP, 2013).

Alistair Geddes is Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Social and Environmental Sciences at the University of Dundee.


“The six essays in this volume all make use of geographic information system (GIS) technology and all are concerned with tracing change over time. The articles’ reliance on this technology supports the claim that the spatial humanities as a field are defined by the use of geographical technologies. . . Most importantly, GIS is an invaluable tool for discovering the relationships between different kinds of locatable data.Autumn 2015”

“Toward Spatial Humanities is a good gateway into the evolving sub-discipline of historical GIS. Gregory and Geddes's introduction, conclusion, and endnotes give excellent summaries and references for further exploration. The case study chapters provide good examples of applying GIS to particular historical periods, places, and questions. We can never have too many cases for inspiration and guidance, for so much history remains unexamined from a geographical point of view.”
 — Southern Spaces

“The editors have assembled a splendid book, which will be read with profit by anyone who wishes to learn more about the application of the techniques, especially geographic information systems (GIS), used by the authors of the six chapters. ”
 — American Historical Review

“This book is of great use to any researcher familiar with HGIS, but this volume also has use for any humanities scholar concerned with issues of place and time. The original research contained in the six case studies, as well as the strongly argued theoretical sections in the editors’ introduction and conclusion are clearly presented, accessible by student and professional academic alike.”
 — Social & Cultural Geography

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Table of Contents

Introduction: From Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: Deepening Scholarship and Broadening Technology / Ian N. Gregory and Alistair Y. Geddes
Part One: Deeping Scholarship: Developing the Historiography through Spatial History
1. Railways and Agriculture in France and Great Britain, 1850 to 1914 / Robert M. Schwartz and Thomas Thevenin
2. The Development, Persistence and Change of Racial Segregation in United States Urban Areas: 1880 to 2010 / Andrew A. Beveridge
3. Troubled Geographies: An Historical GIS of Religion, Society and Conflict in Ireland since the Great Famine / Niall Cunningham
Part 2: Broadening Scholarship: Applying HGIS in New Ways
4. Applying Historical GIS beyond the Academy: Four Use Cases for the Great Britain HGIS / Humphrey R. Southall
5. The Politics of Territory in Song Dynasty China (960-1276 CE) / Elijah Meeks and Ruth Mostern
6. Mapping the City in Film / Julia Hallam and Les Roberts
7. Conclusions: From Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: Challenges and Opportunities / Ian N. Gregory and Alistair Y. Geddes
8. Further Reading: From Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: An Evolving Literature / Ian N. Gregory

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