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Inductive Visualization: A Humanistic Alternative to GIS

11 Dec 2015

Growing numbers of humanities researchers are turning to geographic information systems (GIS) to map spatial data and to visualize spatial relationships. This article explains the limitations inherent in GIS as a research methodology for humanistic scholarship, then introduces inductive visualization as a promising alternative that in several ways is more suitable to the acutely perceived but imprecise, often highly relational spatial content in the kinds of sources humanists rely on. The authors present examples of both GIS-based visualizations and inductive visualizations from their research on the geographies of the Holocaust, with a particular focus on using this method to identify and analyze spatiality in survivor testimony. The article concludes with reflections on the value of this flexible methodology for teaching students spatial thinking and encouraging them to find powerful means of visualizing the spatial meaning of primary sources in their research.

Status: Completed

Type: Staff Publications

Author: Anne Kelly Knowles, Levi Westerveld, Laura Strom

Year of publication: 2015

Publisher: GeoHumanities

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