Spatial Humanities and the Crafting of Digital Narratives

As the digital medium has exploded over the last forty or so years, devices, data, networks, and new modes of visual expression have changed our perception of and ability to express our sense of where we are and how we perceive landscapes of experience. As a result, notions of space and place, and a desire to express the situatedness of lived experience and historical narratives, have come increasingly to the fore in humanities and the social sciences. At the same time, interdisciplinary fields such as geography and digital humanities have looked to provide new lenses on the worlds around us (both physical and virtual) and new tools with which to share our stories of traveling through different places.

These changes reflect our increasing capacity to capture and express geographical information through new tools for doing work in what has come to be called the “spatial humanities.” This course will explore our new perceptions of space and place relative to data and data structures both creatively and critically, including questioning how the epistemological tendencies of specific tools–and geographic information systems (GIS) as a whole–impact our perception of the world. Immersing ourselves in contemporary geographical thought, including discussions of space and place in everyday life, and experimentation with new tools and practices, this course will teach students to frame narratives through maps and other spatial visualization tools with a critical understanding that allows them properly situates facts and stories in the digital landscape.

An important part of this course will be learning about the kinds of tools that can be used to perform work in the spatial humanities and their relative strengths and weaknesses. The class will receive instruction in the following spatial humanities tools:

  • Google Maps/Earth
  • StoryMap JS
  • ArcGIS
  • ESRI StoryMaps
  • Survey123
  • ARIS (Augmented Reality for Interactive Storytelling)

These workshops will be provided by Professor Keramidas, NYU Geospatial Librarian Andrew Battista (with whom the class will have ongoing relationship throughout the semester), and outside guests such as Jesse Merandy, Director of the Digital Media Lab at the Bard Graduate Center who is completing the first digital dissertation at the CUNY Graduate Center and is a specialist in Location Based Mobile Experiences (LBME)

The assignments for the class will include practicums with five of the tools that will be introduced in class as well as a mapping project that will integrate student research in a field of their choosing with spatial humanities tools and result in a working digital humanities project that expresses a sense of space, place, and narrative.

CEH-GA 3047-001
INTRL-GA 1795-001
Spring 2021

Wednesdays, 2:00-5:00 pm

Kimon Keramidas
XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement
Office hours: By appointment