Listed alphabetically by last name
A sampling of what members are doing, or have completed.
Burgundy, France historical and archaeological research (Scott Madry, Elizabeth Jones)
Dr. Madry has conducted regional archaeological research in the Burgundy region of France for 30 years. His research has focused on the applications of GIS, remote sensing, predictive modeling, visualization and related technologies to understand the evolving and changing patterns of settlement and land-use over a period of 2,000 years from the Iron Age to the present. Working collaboratively with an interdisciplinary group of researchers, this project has looked at the patterns of continuity and change as successive cultures have utilized, and have themselves been influenced by, the landscape. This research has developed an extensive GIS database of environmental and cultural data, including archaeological sites, old roadways and river fords, resource extraction sites, and other information. Predictive models have been developed and the data have been used by other researchers in the area for a variety of projects ranging from ecology, geomorphology, anthropology, archaeology, and environmental management. The project team as scanned historical maps of the study area dating from 1659, 1759, 1846, 1848, 1896, 1986 and 2003. In addition, historical aerial photos from 1945 and remote sensing data from 1973-2003 have been integrated. Cultural and historical features from the historical maps have been extracted using innovative approaches developed by the team to create a historical GIS database showing shifting patterns of land use and settlement from numerous dates back to 1757, before the French revolution. These data are being used to analyze a range of issues, including land use, settlement patterns, demographics, property ownership, economic and production, and related topics. Current work is being conducted with Dr. Elizabeth Jones and Dr. Amanda Tickner of UNC. See: http://informatics.org/france/france.html for additional information about this project.
Some of Scott Madry's other projects:
NC Piedmont: the Indian Trading Path and colonial settlement development (Rebecca Dobbs)
This project uses colonial landgrant records at the individual tract level to examine regional spatial and temporal patterns of European settlement during the Piedmont's period of explosive growth through in-migration, the 1740s to 1760s. More specifically, Dr. Dobbs is investigating the role of indigenous-origin roads, particularly the Indian Trading Path, in the development of individual towns and of the overall settlement system, which we now know as the Piedmont Urban Crescent. The reserach process involves transcribing each extant landgrant record from the study area and period, then creating shapes in GIS according to survey measurements in the records, then locating the tracts in space, and lastly analyzing patterns and interpreting them. Dr. Dobbs has posited a set of processes by which an existing feature such as the ITP might influence the development of settlements and settlement systems; in Phase I of this project, encompassing the Triangle area and environs, the emergence of Hillsborough (on the ITP) well before any other towns in the area supports her town-scale model and a strong role for the ITP. She is undertaking additional research at Hillsborough to test her conclusions. The remainder of the overall Piedmont study area will be studied in Phases II and III, pending funding. Selected output maps and animations from Phase I are available at http://www.unc.edu/~grdobbs/dissmaps.
NC towns and cities: multiple historical cultural landscape explorations (Robert Allen)
Going to the Show documents and illuminates the experience of movies and moviegoing in North Carolina from the introduction of projected motion pictures (1896) to the end of the silent film era (circa 1930). Through its innovative use of more than 1000 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of forty-five towns and cities between 1896 and 1922, the project situates early moviegoing within the experience of urban life in the state's big cities and small towns. It highlights the ways that race conditioned the experience of moviegoing for all North Carolinians- white, African American, and American Indian. Its collection inventories every known N.C. African American movie theater in operation between 1908 and 1963. Supporting its documentation of more than 1300 movie venues across 200 communities is a searchable archive of thousands of contemporaneous artifacts: newspaper ads and articles, photographs, postcards, city directories, and 150 original architectural drawings. Special features of Going to the Show include an in-depth case study of moviegoing in Wilmington, North Carolina, that:
Movie theater architecture in the South is documented through the plans for 23 theaters designed by Erle Stillwell. Five extensive lesson plans have been developed to encourage teachers to use Going to the Show as a resource for teaching social and cultural history.
Main Street, Carolina (MSC) will be launched Summer 2010. It is a free, web-based digital history resource that allows local libraries, schools, museums, preservation and local history societies, and other community organizations across N.C. to preserve, document, and interpret their history. It provides organizations with a flexible, user-friendly digital platform on which they can add a wide variety of local data: historical and contemporary photographs, postcards, newspaper ads and articles, architectural drawings, historical commentary, family papers, and excerpts from oral history interviews--all keyed to and layered on top of digitized historic maps.
Students in AMST 890, Virtual Cities: A Digital Humanities Laboratory, Fall 2010, will contribute to key demonstration projects within MSC and develop additional projects, pedagogic uses, and apps and features for the MSC toolkit. More detail about the course and MSC
Testbed for the Redlining Archives of California's Exclusionary Spaces (Richard Marciano)
The practice of redlining was initiated by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), a federal agency created in 1933 and signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as one of several New Deal measures meant to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Redlining denied loans or made them harder to obtain based on "unfavorable" neighborhood attributes such as racial composition. HOLC's appraisal and redlining policies were eventually implemented across the nation and adopted by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), thereby institutionalizing exclusion, contributing to the fragmentation of communities, and profoundly shaping the American urban landscape.
T-RACES was designed to preserve, analyze, and make publicly accessible online digital versions of historical documents related to the practice of redlining neighborhoods in the 1930s and 1940s in eight California cities. The documents include city maps, neighborhood descriptions, interviews, financial and banking documents, and detailed city surveys that are a valuable source of information on California's history. The original materials are housed at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and are part of the Civilian Records holdings. The website includes historical maps of 8 areas: San Francisco, Oakland-Berkeley, San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego. The project will eventually be extended to include all the redlined cities of North Carolina: Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
Bountiful Deserts and Imperial Shadows: Seeds of Knowledge and Corridors of Migration in Northern New Spain (1680-1820) (Cynthia Radding)
The project addresses three research questions: (1) How did native peoples shape their environments prior to European invasion through cultivation, gathering, and hunting, and how did these processes continue, in new ways, under colonial rule? (2) How can we trace changing ethnic identities through historical sources and methods to retrieve the dynamic quality of kinship and political affiliations? (3) How do cultural practices become usable knowledge for contemporaries, and how has that knowledge entered the historical record? This project will advance the historiography for northern Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands in new directions and contribute to methodological discussions in ethnohistory, cultural geography, and environmental history.
Mapping the Indian Bay Path in Sturbridge, MA (Ric Skinner)
A recent project of Ric Skinner's was researching and mapping a pre-Colonial Indian Bay Path through what is now Sturbridge, MA -- see the final report. The principal reference for this project was Levi Badger Chases book The Bay Path and Along the Way published in 1919. Chase provides a detailed account of his travels along the Bay Path in the late 19th century to document its route from near Boston to the Connecticut River. A key document was the actual field map used by Chase to sketch the Bay Paths location.
Listed by continent first, then subdivisions where applicable