The use of spatial theories and technologies within the humanities—the spatial humanities—has led to creative scholarship that has reinvigorated our understanding of space and place in history, literature, archaeology, and allied disciplines. This new field promises a unique postmodern scholarship that accommodates the contingent, fluid, and ambiguous nature of human memories, beliefs, and actions. The goal is not to sacrifice the rational, logical, and empirical approach to knowledge that has been the hallmark of scholarship since the Enlightenment, but rather to complement it with different ways of discovery.
This presentation explores what we have learned from our application of geospatial technologies to the problems of interest to humanists. It also suggests an agenda for the future of this work, which increasingly will witness the convergence of technologies within new formats, such as virtual reality. One result is deep mapping, an innovative form of mapping with an emphasis on experiential knowledge that will open scholarship to non-expert audiences. What does this development mean for history and the spatial humanities as we continue to seek ways to connect matter and meaning on the subjects that interest us?
Recording of the conference:
In this interview, David Bodenhamer gives an overview of his career, from his beginnings as a constitutional legal historian to becoming a new digital historian. He illustrates how GIS changed the nature of his work and explains the notion of ‘deep mapping’, emphasizing the importance of our human experience with places. He concludes by outlining the most exciting developments going on in digital history in his view.
David Bodenhamer is (founding) Executive Director of The Polis Center and Professor of History at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI). During his tenure, the Polis Center has developed over 1000 projects and a wide array of local, national, and international partnerships, with grant and contract funding of over $90 million. He has served as strategic and organizational consultant to universities, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations across the U.S. and in Europe. An active researcher, Bodenhamer is author or editor of twelve books and has published over thirty-five journal articles and chapters in books. He has made over one hundred presentations to audiences on four continents on topics ranging from legal and constitutional history to the use of GIS and advanced information technologies in academic and community-based research.
Bodenhamer’s work in the new field of spatial humanities includes The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship (Indiana University Press, 2010), Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives (Indiana University Press, 2015), and Making Deep Maps: Foundations, Approaches, and Methods (forthcoming, 2020). He serves as co-general editor of the Indiana University Press Series on Spatial Humanities and co-editor of the IJHAC: A Journal of the Digital Humanities (formerly the International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing), for Edinburgh University Press. Bodenhamer also is co-director of the Virtual Center for Spatial Humanities (VCSH), an institutional partnership among Florida State University, West Virginia University, and IUPUI, to advance the field of spatial humanities.
With the support of