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Toward Spatial Humanities

Historical GIS and Spatial History

Ian N. Gregory

Publication Year: 2014

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.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: The Spatial Humanities

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

We express our sincere gratitude to all of the contributors for their efforts and speedy replies to our requests and queries. The work was strengthened as a result of detailed anonymous review, and we thank those involved in that process. The series editors – David...

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Introduction: From Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: Deepening Scholarship and Broadening Technology

Ian N. Gregory and Alistair Geddes

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pp. ix-xxii

When Geographical Information Systems (GIS) first began to be used by academic geographers in the late 1980s, their use was nothing if not controversial. Proponents of the new field argued that it had the potential to reinvigorate geography as a discipline under...

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PART 1. Deepening Scholarship: Developing Historiography through Spatial History

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pp. 1-3

Historical GIS projects typically go through a number of phases of which perhaps three can be identified: database development, exploration and enhancement, and topic-led questions. The database development phase, in which the database is constructed, is usually

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1. Railways and Agriculture in France and Great Britain, 1850–1914

Robert M. Schwartz and Thomas Thevenin

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pp. 4-34

After reflecting on American agriculture and railroads, Richard Jefferies, an agricultural journalist, saw one thing clearly: Britain must catch up. Goods trains in agrarian America, he wrote, stopped not merely at stations but virtually anywhere along the line where there...

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2. The Development, Persistence, and Change of Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880–2010

Andrew A. Beveridge

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pp. 35-61

Dubbed the “Great Migration,” the movement of the African American population in the United States from the mostly agricultural areas of the South to the cities and metropolitan areas in the North is one of the major population shifts that shaped the United States...

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3. Troubled Geographies: A Historical GIS of Religion, Society, and Conflict in Ireland since the Great Famine

Niall Cunningham

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pp. 62-88

Throughout the development of modern Ireland religion has played a central role in the persistence of complex communal identities.1 Notwithstanding what has been considered to be the substantive resolution of “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland, religious identity has...

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PART 2. Broadening Technology: Applying GIS to New Sources and Disciplines

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pp. 89-91

The previous three chapters take what might be termed “traditional GIS data” and apply them to historical research. By “traditional GIS data” we mean that they are based on quantitative attribute data that can be well represented spatially using points, lines, or polygons...

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4. Applying Historical GIS beyond the Academy: Four Use Cases for the Great Britain HGIS

Humphrey R . Southall

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pp. 92-117

Many historical GIS projects are the work of individual scholars, carried out in their own research time without external funding. Most of the projects that do receive external funding are relatively small scale, employing a single research assistant to work alongside the...

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5. The Politics of Territory in Song Dynasty China, 960–1276 CE

Elijah Meeks and Ruth Mostern

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pp. 118-142

State power is inherently and fundamentally geographical. The existence of states is marked by whether or not they hold sway over some territory on the earth’s surface, and their persistence depends upon how the machinery of dominion is spatially distributed...

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6. Mapping the City in Film

Julia Hallam and Les Roberts

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pp. 143-171

In this chapter we examine how geospatial computing tools such as GIS can contribute to an understanding of the development of local film culture and its contribution to projections of “place,” drawing on archival research into Liverpool and Merseyside on film. We...

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7. Conclusions: From Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: Challenges and Opportunities

Ian N. Gregory and Alistair Geddes

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pp. 172-185

The essays in this volume illustrate the diversity of topics within and beyond history that can be conducted using historical GIS (HGIS) and the fields of spatial history, humanities GIS, and spatial humanities that are emerging from it. The topics discussed cover rural...

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8. Further Reading: From Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: An Evolving Literature

Ian N. Gregory

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pp. 186-202

As was stated in the introduction, the use of GIS to study the past has evolved rapidly over the last decade or so, and we now stand at a position where the field is becoming both deeper and broader. As the field develops, so too does the literature, which has become...


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pp. 203-206


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pp. 207-212

E-ISBN-13: 9780253011909
E-ISBN-10: 0253011906
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253011800

Page Count: 234
Illustrations: 46 b&w illus; 4 tables
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: The Spatial Humanities