Week 3 (Jan 30, Feb 1):

Tuesday Think Spatially: Why Does Space Matter?

Study Guide:

  • Over the course of the semester, you will regularly be asked to take turns and give a short 10-15 minute presentation on an article assigned to you. In the presentation, you should pretend to be the author of the article who is delivering a talk at an academic conference, sharing your findings (reported in the assigned article) with fellow historians. You should speak in the first-person voice during the presentation. When preparing these presentations, always ask yourself:
    • What are my findings? (What do I want to convince my audience in?)
    • And how should I argue for it? (My data/evidence? How do I build up my argument in 10-15 minutes?)

Usually, you need to prepare a PowerPoint with a few slides for your presentation. Submit your slides to Moodle before class (click here for the drop box).

For today’s class, Jordon will present on “The Structure of Chinese History”.

  • Consider the following general questions while doing your readings and preparing your presentations:
    • What are the messages G. William Skinner and Peter Bol want historians to take to heart in their analyses of Chinese history?
    • What does it mean to “think spatially” or adopt a “geographic perspective”? Why should historians care?

Thursday Introduction to the Geographical Information System (GIS)

Study Guide:

  • Read GIS Commons, Chapter 1 “Introduction” and consider:
    • What is GIS? In what ways is it similar or different from “digitized maps,” as you may find in the David Rumsey Map Collection?
    • What are the key elements of GIS? Be prepared to explain some of the key concepts (such as raster vs. vector data).
  • Read Peter K. Bol, Creating a GIS for the History of Chinaand consider: 
    • What are the different ways Bol proposes for conceptualizing space?
  • Explore both assigned websites by turning on and off the layers. Make at least two observations on each site about spatial patterns and spatial relationships: What patterns can we see? How would you account for these patterns? (Were churches often built in the vicinity of major markets? Did the transport routes or economic centers of an earlier period overlap with those of a later period?) Be prepared to share your observations in class with a short (a few minutes’) presentation