Organized Panel Session
History, it is often argued, is the study of change over time. But since at least the Annales School of 1930s, historians have recognized the “where” of history as much as the “when.” GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and related technologies have transformed historians’ ability to posit “where” questions: mapping human activities at scales ranging from meters to hundreds of kilometers; tracing connection of trade, affiliation, and kinship; and finding correlations between space and other quantitative metrics. The papers in this panel all employ new technologies to explore the “where” of historical phenomena. Damian uses GIS to recreate medieval trade networks from fragmentary port records and shows how these networks anticipated early modern shipping guilds. Ravina examines how Tokugawa-era political geography shaped political language in the 1870s and 1880s, with different vocabularies of protest in different regions. Burns maps the location of quarantine hospitals to explore how concerns about contagion and poverty, as well as questions of transportation and access, shaped the Tokyo cityscape during the Tokugawa-Meiji transition. These papers share a common approach: integrating spatial data with other texts and historical sources to enable new readings of both. Network analysis, GIS, and spatial statistics reveal unseen implications of both spatial and conventional texts.