The New York Times has a story up on what they are calling “spatial humanities” which focuses on the work of my friend and colleague Anne Kelly Knowles. An excerpt:
“Mapping spatial information reveals part of human history that otherwise we couldn’t possibly know,” saidAnne Kelly Knowles, a geographer at Middlebury College in Vermont. “It enables you to see patterns and information that are literally invisible.” It adds layers of information to a map that can be added or taken off at will in various combinations; the same location can also be viewed back and forth over time at the click of a mouse.
Another person is quoted as saying “the humanities had become too abstract and neglected physical space. The value of what scholars are calling “the spatial turn,” he added, is that “it allows you to ask new questions: Why is it that something developed here and not somewhere else, what is it about the context of this place?”
I would have called Anne’s work “historical GIS” but “spatial humanities” certainly connects and emphasizes the possibilities of GIS for human geography. I think this is the first time I’ve seen the phrase “spatial turn” in a regular NYT article as well.