GIS for me

Yuan’s article was inaccessible to me. I still have no idea what georeferencing or geoparsing mean. The only example I could vaguely understand was the one used to explain geo-inference, which the author called “a simplistic example.” I suppose I was not their target audience.

Consequently, I cannot say with certainty what place GIS can have in my research or my teaching. I could perhaps envision the role of maps and mapping textual information in my work (and if that is the definition of GIS then Yuan should just say so).

Teaching- I used David Eltis’ database in the class I taught today on slavery and colonization in the French empire and it was very useful for students who knew nothing of France but croissants and coco chanel to visualize the historical and geographic coordinates of the Cesaire text we were discussing. Being able to input one’s own variables to pull up the voyages of specific slave ships and to represent spatial relationships (the way Yuan shows in Fig 7.4 with arrows of different widths) made this interactive project more interesting than a still map pulled up on google images.

Research- I think viewing text as a data source could be a useful approach to my own research. Mapping could actually be very instrumental in filling in the silences and gaps of place names and locations that so characterise the fragmented narratives of the African diaspora.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Annette!  I’m glad that you brought to light that GIS was not well treated in Yuan’s article. 

    I think that, in many ways, it was dense and it did presuppose a bit of, well let’s say, independent research on the part of the reader.  But, I think that you actually DID get the concept– perhaps without knowing it.

    In fact, you basically restated Yuan’s premise in your paragraph on research.  “I think viewing text as a data source could be a useful approach to my own research.”  Yes, this is what Yuan is positing.  She offers three ways in which these can be done:  Spatialization, Geo-Reference, and Geo-Inference.  These are three different processes through which the goals that you outline could be obtained.  Now, I have a challenge for you.  Give me an example of each process, with regards to “the gaps of place names and locations that so characterise the fragmented narratives of the African diaspora.”  If you can do this, you’ll be three steps ahead of Yuan, who, in your view, didn’t do a great job at explaining this.

    Good questions!