Mapping Transnational (Hi)Stories
Mapping and Visualising Transnational Flows and Connections
The reading and workshop group is, for the moment, St Andrews-led. It is, however, a spin-off of the Menton 2013 summer school where discussions around borders, spaces and networks came back repeatedly to the question of space and scale in transnational history – and how to map and visualise such histories.
Defining transnational history as a way of seeing and a perspective that is interested in people, in nodes and honeycombs (P. Clavin) as well as the flows and connections across borders, raises pressing questions: Where is transnational history? Does transnational history need to rethink spatial issues? What kind of maps and visualisation could be integrated in transnational history – both as a way of analysis as well as narrative and story telling?
It is interesting to see that, over the past ten to fifteen years, an interest in spatial history (spatial turn) as well as in transnational (and global) history has developed almost simultaneously. If we accept that space (Raum / espace) is not simply absolute, a fact or a reality, but a product of social interaction and thus made, this would feed back into the questions raised above.
At the same time, new and previously unprecedented technologies of communication and mapping have become available. By asking: Where is transnational history? How to bring space back in? we seek to address these questions in a loose series of reading group sessions (held at the Centre for Transnational History), small-scale workshops (at St Andrews, in collaboration with GRAINES and beyond) and presentations/panels at a number of conferences.
What we seek to explore across projects ranging from travel activities to the Habsburg Empire (Martin Schaller), global cities (Emma Hart), alpine regions (Dawn Hollis, Jordan Girardin), scientific networks around 1800 (Sarah Easterby-Smith), spatial issues related to national socialism (Riccardo Bavaj) or transnational biographies (Bernhard Struck) are ways to tell these stories through technologies of mapping and visualisation.
Over the coming academic year (2013-14) a number of members of staff and PhD researcher from St Andrews will be meeting for a series of reading group sessions on the theme of space in transnational history. Transnational history has been broadly defined as being interested in connections across borders as well as in flows of goods, people, ideas across, through and above nations. As a perspective or way of seeing transnational history has been characterised as being primarily concerned with people as actors that create webs of connections as well as circulations, honeycombs and nodes of interaction across borders.
Such a definition raises questions of space and scale that we seek to discuss in a series of reading sessions and ultimately in a form of a workshop. What a number of colleagues are interested in is the question of how to spatialise and, consequently, how to map and visualise transnational histories and the flows and connections it is interested in. With these challenges and problems on space and scale in mind, what we seek to discuss in the coming year(s) is the combination and interrelation of transnational and global history on the one hand with the simultaneous (re)emergence of space and spatial issues since the early 1990s on the other.
While individual members of the reading groups work on rather diverse topics (travel, science, cities), we seek to explore ways of visualising and mapping flows and connections by collaborating with disciplines including geography and computer science.
Dates for meetings and readings will be posted shortly. For further questions or signalling interest in participating in any of the meetings, please feel free to contact Bernhard Struck (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The venue is room 0.02, School of History, St Katharine’s Lodge, The Scores, St Andrews. The first meeting for the workshop / reading group on space met on Wednesday 16 October 2013, 5.30pm.
What we read
-Krempel, Lothar, Network Visualization, in John Scott & Peter J. Carrington (Eds.): Sage Handbook of Social Network Analysis. London/New Delhi: Sage (forthcoming).
-Müller, Michael G., and Cornelius Torp. “Conceptualising Transnational Spaces in History.” European Review of History: Revue Européenne d’histoire 16, no. 5 (2009): 609.
-Middell, Matthias, and Katja Naumann. “Global History and the Spatial Turn: From the Impact of Area Studies to the Study of Critical Junctures of Globalization.” Journal of Global History 5, no. 01 (2010): 149–170.
-White, Richard, What is spatial history? (2010, online Stanford project) http://www.stanford.edu/group/spatialhistory/media/images/publication/what%20is%20spatial%20history%20pub%20020110.pdf
Resources – Examples – Inspiration – Tools