GIS and Database Interests

November 16th, 2010 |

I’m a little late to the party, but wanted to introduce myself before we all meet at Northwestern.

I’m currently an Assistant Professor of German Language & Literature at the University of Notre Dame, where I’ve been teaching since 2007.  I’m fairly new to the digital humanities, but eager to learn more and make more sophisticated use of available tools in both teaching and research.

After doing fairly low-level stuff with wikis and blogs for a while, I’ve recently become interested in geographical information systems as teaching aids and alternate means of assessment.  Two years ago,  one of my first-year literature classes used KML and Google Earth to create a geographical companion to a bulky German novel that is now available online here:

http://www.googlelittrips.com/GoogleLit/Hi_Ed/Entries/2009/2/2_Buddenbrooks_by_Thomas_Mann.html

I’m working on  more ambitious version of this project with a current class and am hoping to get some feedback from you all on some of their preliminary results, which I’ll bring along.  Ideally, I’ll also get some ideas for more advanced GIS work  – a colleague of mine and I have recently applied for a grant to create a language course anchored by digital geographical materials, and I could talk about that too.

My research has recently also taken a more digital direction, though it’s too early to share any results.  But I’ve just started collaborating with Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing on creating a database of nineteenth-century German novel production, which will hopefully end up being searchable both in traditional ways (titles, number of books published per year, etc.) and through a GIS interface (visualization of places of publication, etc.).  Franco Moretti has been hugely influential in my thinking as well, so I look forward to talking with Derek and other literature scholars.

See you all next weekend!

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