Dan Edelstein, Stanford University
Colin H. Gordon, University of Iowa
Richard White, Stanford University
Geographic Information System (GIS) software has been playing an increasingly important role in historical research in recent years. It allows historians to ask spatial questions, to collect, record, and analyze data spatially, and to create maps representing these data. This roundtable discussion session is meant to introduce some of the latest and most creative uses of GIS in historical research to the larger community of American historians.
The session will be moderated by Yair Mintzker (Princeton) and include Richard White (Stanford), Peter K. Bol (Harvard), Colin Gordon (Iowa), and Dan Edelstein (Stanford). It will open by brief presentations by the participants of their different, yet equally fascinating, uses of spatial analysis in their fields of study. These include the visualization of knowledge about the American West (White), historical cartography in East Asia (Bol), American urban history (Gordon), and transatlantic intellectual history (Edelstein). We shall devote the lion’s share of our time, however, to an engaging conversation about the past, present, and future of “spatial history,” emphasizing both GIS enormous potential to historical research as well as some of the challenges involved in using it in analyzing historical processes and events.