‘Language as cosmovisión/Cēmānāhuac. Some reflexions about computational research on the ‘Conquest of America’ and the cruciality of decolonial praxis in the Digital Humanities’
Patricia Murrieta-Flores is Professor of Digital Humanities and co-director of the Digital Humanities Centre at Lancaster University. An historical archaeologist, she has published widely on computational approaches and theories for the study of historical, archaeological, and literary sources. Her main area of research is the Spatial Humanities with a focus on Artificial Intelligence techniques for the study of the history of Colonial Latin America. Her current research explores the social implications and recording in indigenous and Spanish sources of the epidemics provoked by the introduction of European diseases that devastated Mesoamerica during the sixteenth-century. She is actively involved in fostering critical thinking in AI and research for the development decolonial technologies. Her latest projects include TAP/ESRC “Digging into Early Colonial Mexico”; AHRC/NEH “Unlocking the Colonial Archive”; CAPAS “Mesoamerican Apocalypse: A large scale analysis of the Indigenous perspective on the sixteenth-century epidemics of Colonial Mexico”; and AHRC/LoC “Implementing AI to unlock the Library of Congress Spanish American manuscript collections (1500-1699): A Geographical Text Analysis”.
Should ‘talking about space’ be just as much a part of GIS as ‘mapping space’? Thoughts on typological thinking and traditional GIS
Piraye Hacıgüzeller is an Assistant Professor of Digital Heritage and Metadata at the University of Antwerp, and archaeologist and engineer by training. Her theoretical interests in digital humanities and digital heritage relate to the common assumptions and power dynamics that drive the “digital transition” in the discipline. Her methodological interests are geodata and metadata technologies, especially in the context of linked data and semantic web, alternative cartography, and spatial analysis. She is involved in the fieldwork and research project at the archaeological site of Kaymakçı in Western Anatolia. Hacıgüzeller is co-editor of two relatively recent spatial archaeology books: Re-mapping Archaeology – Critical Perspectives, Alternative Mappings (2019) and Archaeological Spatial Analysis – A Methodological Guide (2020). She is associate editor of Journal of Maps (https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tjom20/current).
In this lecture Piraye will argue that typological thinking is a ubiquitous aspect of cartographic practice, increasingly so in the digital age. Each map and in fact each “shapefile” can be regarded as an attempt to categorize/fragment space according to a (fixed) set of categories, some of which are represented by a legend. Despite these incessant attempts to create spatial typologies during map making, the variability and ambiguity in geographic phenomena is inherently high. As a result, GIS mapping can become a frustrating experience, especially in those contexts where GIS “resists” translation of geographic information, knowledge and wisdom expressed in human language into the geometries and/or attribute information that form its bases. She will expand on these points in the lecture and then emphasize that metadata technologies both carry the risk of exacerbating these representational issues in GIS as well as offering opportunities to overcome them. That is, GIS maps are arguably further losing their ability to represent variability in geographic information given the efforts to standardize geo-information and related metadata for interoperability reasons. At the same time, the integration of human language into GIS, through high-resolution semantic graphs (supported by NLP technologies), can be seen as the way to improve the representational capabilities of traditional GIS and break with the inherent typological thinking that is observed in cartographic practice, especially in the context of GIS.