Week 3 (Jan 31, Feb 2):

Tuesday Creating Thematic Maps in Desktop ArcGIS: II

Study Guide:

Drawing on David Staley, Theibault makes a distinction between two different uses of visualizations: as a means of quickly identifying patterns and as a way to make an argument or craft a narrative. These two aspects of visualization (as a tool of analysis and as a tool of communication) are closely related. Today’s class will focus mostly on practical skills with ArcGIS, but we will also reflect critically on using visualizations to construct multimodal arguments and narratives.

  • Read Theibault’s “Visualizations and Historical Arguments” and consider: What qualities should a visualization have to make effective arguments?
  • Theibault speaks of the issue of “rhetorical honesty.” Read Monmonier’s “Lying with Maps” and explore the assigned websites. Explain what “rhetorical honesty” means in mapping. Reflect on how we should use visualizations in constructing an argument.


Thursday The Medieval Economic Revolution in China

Study Guide:

  • Skim von Glahn’s “Economic Transformation in the Tang-Song Transition” and take notes on the following questions. Bring your notes to class for discussion.
    • How was China’s economy transformed between 755 and 1127? And, how did the relationship between state and economy change?
    • How would you account for the above changes?
  • Look at the interactive version of The Qingming Scroll, which depicts the Northern Song capital of Kaifeng in the early twelfth century. You are not required to look at every detail of the scroll (though you are encouraged to do so, if you’d like to). Instead, compare the scroll to the map of Chang’an on page 117 of Ebrey’s Cambridge Illustrated History of China (assigned for Thursday last week). What makes Kaifeng different? What do you interpret these differences? In other words, what historical change between the eighth and the twelfth century do these differences reveal? Take notes on at least two differences and prepare to discuss these differences and their significance (i.e., the historical change they reveal) in class.

Digital Skills Review:

End-of-Week Assignment:

As laid out in the syllabus, starting from this week, you will need to complete one short assignment at the end of each week. Sometimes, the assignment is a short response paper (usually 1 to 2 pages) that report your reflections on the assigned readings. At other times, it is a problem set that draws on the digital skills you have learned in class. All weekly assignments are due at 5 p.m. Sunday. Submit it to the online drop box before due.

The assignment for this week: Write a short reflection paper discussing how China’s economy and its relationship to the state changed during the Tang-Song transition. Discuss also how these changes are reflected in the contrasts between the Song capital Kaifeng (as depicted in the Qingming Scroll) and the Tang capital Chang’an (in the Cambridge Illustrated History of China). The paper should be 1 to 2 pages long, double-spaced. Submit it to the dropbox on Moodle (click here).