1.There is a fairly semiotic conception of space brought up in Bodenhamer’s essay, The Potential of Spatial Humanities. He seems to be saying that conceiving of “near and far” in the humanities has political resonances. These resonances, Bodenhamer says were stabilized by his use of the American geography which created subsets of identity as the population grew and moved westerly and southerly.  Presently, it is not as easy to contextualize difference as the humanities have grown in terminology to include even more specific fragments of population. With this in mind, the use of Geographic Information Systems can use a familiar visualization (a map) to show groupings of the data that the humanities have gathered on population differences. Although this approach is nuanced, Bodenhemer asks if it is still uncritical. Here, I would like to insert the comment that was brought up earlier in our seminar, of the affective reading of data. With a GIS, the information is still going to be interpreted subjectively. However this is a rut that I do not think the humanities wants to keep finding itself in, and again I myself find it uncomfortable to have the questions of epistemological value brought up repetitively. There is a point made in the essay about humanists relying on language and finding it difficult to use a visualization for information gathering. However, reading a map is still reading. If the data visualized is just thought of as a text, would it not be easier to jump into an analysis and to allow oneself to be the critic or parser of the data? This would mean however, that the visualization be primarily the text to be deciphered and not the statement itself, almost like an essay without a thesis. Can there be such a thing?

2. In, “Sapping Attention,”  I think a productive interpretation is put forth; could not the visualization of information  be a good way to limit the interpretations that a historian might have– and could this limitation not be a positive instead of a negative? The self-described medium size of the data seems to have allowed for the data to feel comprehensively expressed and the interpretation to feel fair. 

3. Another note I would like to put forth:  I was struck by the idea that audibly transmitted information was inferior to a visualization. When I think of audial transmission of information, I think of conversation, dialogue and interlocution. These seem to be cooperative and therefore an inclusive way into data. Why is the audial ostracized from visualization? 

 

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