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Places, People and Events: Innovative Spatial Humanities Research to support Interpretation and Explanation



Ph.D. Wiesława Duży
Ph.D. eng. Marta Kuźma
Ph.D. Elżbieta Kwiecińska

Digital technologies and infrastructure approaches continue to have vast potential following the spatial turn in the humanities, but the humanities face challenges arising with the transition of traditional theory and methods to computationally-based scientific research possibilities. With available digital data, the question ‘Where” has now become a meaningful research focus at multiple resolutions and for a wide range of situations and relationships. This research project tackles the limits arising for spatial/temporal
research in the digital humanities with the cartographic map’s two-dimensional representations and the absence of concise temporal information. Resolving these challenges involves bootstrapping spatial humanities digital humanities tools and methods with interpretative and explanatory theory and methods in a flexible framework using contemporary digital humanities tools. The pragmatic focus on developing novel integrated toolkits using graph database frameworks supports the integration of close-reading and distance-reading in hermeneutic interpretative framework and support of geographic, network and diagrammatic visualisations. The project relies on digital humanities data from Polish data infrastructure and projects to discover new ways to support humanities and social science scientific discovery. It interfaces through Polish digital humanities infrastructures. Drawing on 25 years of GIS-related research and technology development work in Germany and the US, the visiting professorship of Francis Harvey spearheads innovative new theories, methods and visual-spatial humanities approaches for researchers and heritage institutions. International scientific workshops support the research. Outcomes include publications from these workshops, an edited monograph in spatial humanities, and the first spatial humanities hermeneutics that connects distant reading methods with close reading interpretation.