[new book] Digital Cities: The Interdisciplinary Future of the Urban Geo-Humanities (2015)

9781137524546.indd

A mid-length Palgrave Pivot book being released here.

‘Making a strong case for interdisciplinary layering as a way to represent the many layers – physical, social, aesthetic – of the city, Fraser’s visionary book is as much a meditation on the future of the digital humanities itself as it is on the city as an object of humanistic inquiry. He cogently charts a course for how humanists will employ thick mapping as a way to practice the digital humanities.’ [–David J. Staley, Associate Professor of History and Adjunct Associate Professor of Design, Director of the Goldberg Center at The Ohio State University, USA]

Digital Cities stakes claim to an interdisciplinary terrain where the humanities and social sciences combine with digital methods. Part I: Layers of the Interdisciplinary City converts a century of urban thinking into concise insights destined for digital application. Part II: Disciplinary/Digital Debates and the Urban Phenomenon delves into the bumpy history and uneven present landscape of interdisciplinary collaboration as they relate to digital urban projects. Part III: Toward a Theory of Digital Cities harnesses Henri Lefebvre’s capacious urban thinking and articulation of urban ‘levels’ to showcase where ‘deep maps’ and ‘thick mapping’ might take us. Benjamin Fraser argues that while disciplinary frictions still condition the potential of digital projects, the nature of the urban phenomenon pushes us toward an interdisciplinary and digital future where the primacy of cities is assured.

Introduction

PART I: LAYERS OF THE INTERDISCIPLINARY CITY
1. What is the City?
2. Art and the Urban Experience

PART II: DISCIPLINARY/DIGITAL DEBATES AND THE URBAN PHENOMENON
3. The Humanities, the Social Sciences and the Digital Sciences
4. What is Urban Totality?

PART III: TOWARD A THEORY OF DIGITAL CITIES
5. What are Digital Cities?
6. Thick Mapping as Urban Metaphor

Epilogue: Bridged Cities (A Calvino-esque Tale)

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Essay on (humanities) peer-review, interdisciplinarity, junior scholars

Benjamin Fraser, Malcolm Alan Compitello and Eva Karene Romero have just authored an editorial titled “A Modest Proposal Regarding Peer-Review” that can be found on Project Muse here.

While this essay has appeared in a Hispanic Studies journal–the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies–it is pitched/positioned much more generally to speak to shifts in the humanities in particular but perhaps also to interdisciplinary scholarship outside of the humanities as well. Some insights may be particular to Hispanic Studies, while others may be more broadly applicable, take a look and let us know what you think,

Three Spatial/Geo Humanities books…

I finally found time to grab a few books from the library that have looked interesting:

The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship (Indiana 2010)

Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds: Geography and the Humanities (Routledge 2011)

GeoHumanities: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place (Routledge 2011) (this link is a review)

(let’s see if I can find time to read them)…

I’m particularly interested to gauge the extent to which geographers are engaging with the literary text without reducing it to content, something that seems to have been a temptation for David Harvey in particular. Just having reread the introduction to Engaging Film–a great book, but one whose introduction attempts to reinvent the wheel in that it simplifies the notion of film as a “representation of reality” and then seeks to provide an “antiessentialist” vision of film that of course can be traced back to the very complex nature of the theories it cites (e.g. Siegfried Kracauer’s theory of film)–it seems that a more thorough reconciliation of the humanities and social sciences is necessary.

The Two Cultures: C. P. Snow and the State of Interdisciplinary Collaboration

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This is an obligatory reference for contemporary academics working across more than one discipline–there should be a kind of ‘required freshman reading’ (ours for freshmen next year is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer–which I think Chapel Hill used previously if I got the right information) in which new faculty members have to read C.P. Snow’s book The Two Cultures as part of their orientation.

Snow was a scientist/physicist who also thought of himself as a writer/novelist, and gave a lecture in 1959 that was later turned into a book. In the lecture he discussed the gap between the humanities and the hard sciences–the mutual lack of understanding in general terms. This is the kind of thing that Continue reading