Assigned Readings

  1. Richard White, “What is Spatial History?”, Spatial History Lab: working paper, 2010.
  2. Andrew Robichaud and Erik Steiner, “Trail of Blood,” Spatial History Lab: working paper, 2010.
  3. See also its accompanying digital exhibits 1) Mapping the Law: The Evolution of Slaughterhouse Space, 1852-1870 and 2) Animal City

Questions to guide your reading:
Remember to include specific examples.

White, "What is Spatial History?"

  1. Content Former Director for the Spatial History Project at Stanford, Richard White details the goals of his project in studying history using spatial analysis. What makes the Spatial History Project unique and how is space something that can help us think about history in interesting ways?
  2. Content Henri Lefebvre wrote The Production of Space to theorize the ways that space is something that humans create. As White says, "Spatial relations shift and change. Space is historical" (White). What are Lefebvre's three types of space, and how does White describe them?
  3. Themes Why does White argue that spatial history offers us opportunities to better study the past? What challenges do historians wishing to undergo spatial history projects face?

Robichaud, "Trail of Blood"

  1. Content How does the landscape of meat production change throughout the second half of the nineteenth century in SF, according to Robichaud? What do these changes reveal about the rapidly growing city of San Francisco?
  2. Analysis & Critical Thinking What do you think his incorporation of maps and visualizations and his ideas about space bring to his work?
  3. Critique If we were to develop a list of criteria to use in evaluating historical visualizations like Robichaud's (remember to check out his other digital exhibits in the links in the readings section above), what criteria would you include?

Helpful Context

When you open the White and Robichaud links, there is an option to download these as PDFs - the writing is the same, but several of the visualizations are animated in the web version FYI.

See tips and reminders on reading/taking notes in this course.

Johnson, Roaring Camp