Space, Movement, and Translationbrings together a diverse group of graduate students from different disciplines and backgrounds interested in novel ways of representing historical movement, space, and translation in scholarship. Though we individually work on a varied range of topics and questions, from Sephardic identity and settlement practices in the late Ottoman Empire to the history of Turkish and South Asian intellectual exchange, there is a common connection to the transformations effected in the greater Middle East by the spread of new technologies of transport and textual dissemination in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
While this provides a convenient shared temporal and geographical frame for our discussion, our real interest is in exploring how digital humanities can offer alternative methodological approaches to the changing texture of historic space movement in this period and the new kinds of cultural encounters it generated. In particular, we are interested in how the burgeoning software possibilities increasingly being deployed in disciplines like geography and migration studies can be adapted to address the limitations of static pictoral and prose representation that remains the industry standard in historical research.
At the same time, members of the group seek better ways to translate and analyze a wide variety of texts. Digital humanities offered myriad tools for translation, with each of us aided by online dictionaries or lexical databases. However, we are all working with the movement of people, texts and ideas, and developing skills in digital humanities will enable us to better manage our data. By engaging these new tools, we can provide a visual narrative to philological findings, mapping how language and discourse shifted across time and place.
Photo: Suitcases courtesy Flickr user Jeanette via Creative Commons.