Digital History and the Spatial Turn

Cameron Blevins of Northeastern University

This talk offers an introduction to the practice of digital history within the context of a broader “spatial turn” in the humanities and social science. It will briefly outline the historiographical underpinnings of this topic, but will spend the bulk of the presentation focused on the current state of the field. How are historians using mapping and spatial analysis to uncover patterns and construct arguments? How are those findings conveyed to both fellow historians and a wider public? Are these tools actually showing us anything new? Finally, where is the field headed? Rather than proselytizing for digital history as “the next big thing,” this talk will use concrete examples to offer a frank appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, what it has accomplished, and what remains to be done.