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Viewing: HI 535 : Spatial History

Last approved: Sat, 26 Aug 2017 08:01:48 GMT

Last edit: Fri, 25 Aug 2017 16:08:37 GMT

Catalog Pages referencing this course
Change Type
HI (History)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Spatial History
Spatial History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
History (16HI)
Term Offering
Spring Only
Offered Alternate Odd Years
Spring 2018
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Prefix/NumberSemester/Term OfferedEnrollment
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
Frederico Santos Soares de Freitas
Assistant Professor of History

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote
R: Graduate Standing or PBS

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
SIS Program CodeProgram TitleRequired or Elective?
16PHMAPublic History-MAElective
16PHPHDPublic History-PHDElective
Introduces students to the methods, problems, and questions of spatial history. Students will examine major works in spatial history and historical geography, and develop their own projects utilizing the tools of historical GIS. Students will engage in theoretical discussions about the role of space in history and, at the same time, will acquire the skills for collecting, managing, and analyzing historical spatial data. The course is geared to students without prior knowledge of GIS. Graduate standing or PBS status.

This course will offer graduate students expertise in three interrelated fields of historical scholarship not yet covered by other courses in the University:

  • Spatial History/Historical Geography - Space is a critical dimension in historical scholarship, and this course will offer students the theory and concepts to think about historical processes through spatial lenses.

  • Historical GIS - traditional GIS training is focused on hard sciences. This course allows students to develop GIS expertise tailored to the types of humanistic questions that guide historical scholarship. Furthermore, this course will offer students the epistemological toolkit to construct geospatial datasets from incomplete and ambiguous historical records.

  • Urban History - Urbanization is one of the key features defining the twenty-first century. Urban history as a field can be characterized as ‘present-minded’, as its questions and methods follow the continual need to address ongoing societal concerns. This course will use urban case studies from recent history and the examination of theory and history of urbanization as a launchpad for the use and application of historical GIS.


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.

List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)

Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

College(s)Contact NameStatement Summary
College of Humanities and Social SciencesPaul FyfeIn his email Paul Fyfe stated: "This looks fantastic. ... [It] should also interest grad students within and beyond the department interested in the DH certificate. It does not compete with the Intro to DH course we've been offering."
College of DesignSoolyan ChoSooylan Cho was contacted but there was no response from him.
College of Natural ResourcesYu-Fai LeungYu-Fai Leung stated by email: "Thanks for checking with us. I have reviewed your syllabus and have also consulted the Director (Ross Meentemeyer) and DGP (Eric Money) of Center for Geospatial Analytics (CGA). We agreed that this is an excellent addition to our geospatial course offering on campus. We do not see significant overlap between your course and any of the current courses offered by CGA or my (PRTM) department."
This course will not require additional resources. It is part of the course rotation for a recently hired professor to teach digital history.

In this course, students will:

  • Develop an individual research project in spatial history. Students will work with historical data to form an original research question in urban history and use GIS tools and spatial analysis to address their question. Projects are individual and the final product consists of a research paper and an oral presentation.

  • Discuss theoretical underpinnings and the methodological implications of the following fields: spatial history, historical geography, historical GIS, and urban history.

  • Finish in-class training in desktop GIS (ArcGIS) and online mapping (ArcGIS online and Carto). Students will learn the basics of GIS, including data joins, clustering, georeferencing historical sources, projections, geolocation of historical data, symbology, and spatial statistics.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, the students will be able to:

  • Apply spatial thinking to formulate historical questions, using the theory of spatial history to conceptualize space as a historical construct.

  • Procure, clean, and edit historical-GIS data.

  • Use historical GIS, cartography, and data visualization techiniques to assess primary sources to answer historical questions.

  • Plan, develop, and evaluate a GIS project from data collection to final paper.

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Participation15Participation in-class discussions and tutorials. Completion of readings.
presentation15Twice during the course students will give a short presentation (10 min) on the readings. Students will highlight the readings’ main ideas and present questions for in-class discussion. During the first hour of discussion, the student presenters are also in charge of the flow of the conversation.
Short Paper5Draft Proposal - Written. Introduction of research topic, methods, sources. Minimum of 300 words and target range of 300 to 500 words.
Short Paper5Proposal - Oral and Written. Address topic, methods, sources, and historiographical intervention. Five–minute individual presentations followed by five-minute Q&A, and written proposal. Minimum of 400 words and target range of 400 to 700 words.
Oral Presentation5Preliminary Treatment - Oral. Fifteen-minute office-hours presentation of work done until now for final project.
Oral Presentation5Draft Presentation - Oral. Preliminary presentation of final project. Five–minute presentations detailing work accomplished so far. followed by five-minute Q&A.
presentation20Final Project Presentation - Final presentation/exhibit to the Department of History faculty and grad students. You can make use of slides or an electronic poster. Q&A with instructor.
Major Paper30Final Paper - Minimum of 2,500 words pages and target range of 2,500 to 4,000 words.
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
Introduction: What is Spatial History?1 weekDiscussion of White. “What is Spatial History?;” Withers. “Place and the "Spatial Turn;” and Guldi “What is the Spatial Turn?” and “The Spatial Turn in History.”

Instructor guides students in a in-class review of online spatial history projects.
The Problem of Space in History 1 weekMoretti “Atlas of European Novel” (Introduction and Chapter 1); and Mitchell “Can the Mosquito Speak.”

Students present first tentative ideas for research projects.

Introduction to Historical GIS1 weekDiscussion of Knowles. “GIS and History;” Frank, “Spatial History as Scholarly Practice;” and Gregory et al. “GIS and its Role in Historical Research, an Introduction.”

Guided Tutorial: Intro to ArcCatalog and Acquiring Geographical Data
Power Over Space1 weekDiscussion of Carter, "The Road to Botany Bay;" Sack, "Human Territoriality;” and Scott, "Nature and Space."

Guided Tutorial: Intro to ArcMap
The Production of Space1 weekDiscussion of Lefebvre, "The Production of Space;" Moretti, "Atlas of the European Novel" (Chapters 2 and 3); Scott, "Taming Nature."

Presentation of Project Proposal
The Big Scale1 weekDiscussion of Cronon, “Rails and Water” and “The Gateway City;” and Braudel, “Economies: The Measure of the Century.”

Guided Tutorial: Choosing the Right Projection, Data Manipulation, Georeferencing, Creation of Features.

Space and Environment1 weekDiscussion of Confer, “Calling the Dust Bowl;” Worster, “Dust Bowl;” and Freitas “Land Use and Deforestation in Southeastern Brazil.”

Guided Tutorial: Joining Tables and Spatial Joins; Intro to QGIS
What is a City?1 weekDiscussion of Childe “The Urban Revolution;” Pirenne, “City Origins” and “Cities and European Civilization;” Engels, “The Great Towns;” and Scott, “Seeing Like a State.”

Guided Tutorials: ArcGIS online and Carto.
The Modern Urban Space1 weekDiscussion of Anas et al., “Urban Spatial Structure;” Mieszkowskiet al., “The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization;” and Glaser, “Why do the Poor Live in Cities? The Role of Public Transportation.”

Spatial Segregation in the American City1 weekDiscussion of Cutler, “The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto;” Reardon, “Income Inequality and Income Segregation;” and Ananat, “Segregation and Black Political Efficacy;” and Schelling; “Models of Segregation.”

Advanced Historical GIS part I1 weekDiscussion of Gregory et al., (Chapter 2-4); and Hillier et al., "Teaching with GIS."

Guided Tutorial: Point Patterns and Descriptive Summaries
Advanced Historical GIS part II1 weekDiscussion of Gregory et al., (Chapter 6-8); and Donahue, “Mapping Husbandry in Concord.”

Preliminary presentation.
Visualizing Space and Data1 weekDiscussion of MacEachren, "Some Truth With Maps;" Tufte, “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” and Gregory et al., (Chapter 5).

Final Research Presentation 1 weekFinal presentation of individual spatial history projects to colleagues and invited department of history faculty and grad students.
Final Paper submission1 weekTurn in final paper
mlnosbis 4/20/2017: See consultation notes above and attached. Does not conflict with existing courses.
1) I changed the effective date to Spring 2018 since this is a Spring course. That will be the first semester.
2) Individual research project is weighted at 70% on the syllabus, which brings the total to over 100%. This should be adjusted to total 100%.
3) Use stronger words than "finish" and "use" in course objectives in learning outcomes.

pjharrie 5/3/21017 - the project isn't actually in the CIM outline of grading - so it needs to be added and the issue raised by Melissa addressed, but I think I now understand the issue that isn't all that clear in the syllabus that the various items below the Individual Research Project comprise the 70%. It would probably be clearer to assign no value to the project and just leave the percentages for the components. I find it a bit strange that there's a rubric for participation, but not for any of the other graded components.

ABGS Reviewer Comments:
-No concerns.
-Note that PBS is now NDS.
Key: 13790