Lives, Not Metadata: Possibilities and Limits of Mapping Violence
Colloquium | March 13 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 2538 Channing (Inst. for the Study of Societal Issues), Wildavsky Conference Room
This talk will be based on a digital research project, Mapping Violence, for which Dr. Martinez is the primary investigator. The project takes the shape of a digital archive that documents cases of racial violence in Texas from 1900 to 1930. The research is stored in a database and will be displayed as an interactive map that recovers lost and obscured histories of racial violence. The projects recovery efforts shift longtime patterns followed by historians. Mapping Violence aims to expose interconnected histories of violence, the legacies of colonization, slavery, and genocide that intersect in Texas. Although often segregated in academic studies, these histories coalesced geographically and temporally, and in some cases the same agents of violence moved across the state targeting different racial and ethnic groups. Historians have also tended to segregate studies of vigilante violence from extralegal violence at the hands of police. This project rethinks the limits of archival research, historical narrative, and methods for presenting findings to public audiences. In this talk, Martinez will explore some of the fundamental questions about the possibilities created when history and the digital humanities converge. How does one visually represent a history of loss on a digital platform? How can a digital project accommodate the needs of academic and public audiences?