HIST429: Spatial Technologies for Historical Analysis

Available 2017/18

Course Convenor: TBC

This module presents a range of spatial technologies which are now available to historians, before focusing on the development of practical and critical skills which will allow you to apply them to your studies.
The first part of the course will introduce the ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities, identifying its theoretical bases and technical requirements, as well as some of their limitations and practical implications. Topics include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial network analysis and Linked Geodata. You will explore a number of case studies and engage with them critically.
The second part of the course is a hands-on introduction to GIS. It commences with a short introduction to spreadsheets and databases before moving to the analysis and visualization of these, and other data formats, within a GIS system. You will learn how to combine texts and records with contemporary and historical cartography, sensor data, and satellite and aerial photography. This will allow you to visualize your own data in 2 and 3 dimensions, perform spatial statistical analyses, transform it into interactive time lines, and produce high quality maps. In doing so, you will build an awareness of the opportunities, challenges and limitations of working with this medium, and many of the concrete skills required to address them.

Taught: Lent

Assessment: A 2000-word critical essay from a series of set questions (30%) and a practical GIS project related to a research subject of your choice (70%)