Mapping the Past: Historical Geographic Information Science (GIS)

AHA Session 171
Saturday, January 5, 2013: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Rhythms Ballroom 2 (Sheraton New Orleans)
Alberto Giordano, Texas State University–San Marcos
The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age
Alberto Giordano, Texas State University–San Marcos

Session Abstract

This session promotes the usefulness of geographical information science as an empirical tool for historians. By privileging geography, the landscape becomes an historical actor, using geographical analysis and mapping tools to help establish spatial patterns and movement over time. Angel David Nieves seeks to explore the social, economic, and political dimensions of urban development in Johannesburg’s all-black township of Soweto under the South African apartheid regimes (1904-1994) through the construction of a multi-layered historical geographic information system database.  Geoff Cunfer assesses the state of historical geographic information science in the field of environmental history and addresses opportunities for new applications within this sphere.  Finally, Waitman Beorn explores how an interdisciplinary influence from geography can lead historians to both ask new questions of their sources in analyzing the complicity of the Wehrmacht in the crimes of the Holocaust.

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