Reconstructing Human Landscapes from Nonspatial Data: GIS and the Geography of Life and Death in Tokugawa Japan
Thu March 12th 2009, 4:15pm
Sponsored by the Stanford Society of Fellows in Japanese Studies and the Center for East Asian Studies
Building 200, Room 107
Open to the public
Speaker: Fabian Drixler, Assistant Professor of History, Yale University Spatial analysis is a key to unlocking the mysteries of demographic history. This talk will illustrate the explanatory power of space by charting the spread and demise of a culture of widespread infanticide in Eastern Japan between 1660 and 1880. In a setting like Tokugawa Japan, where most documents and many artifacts bear an address line, spatial analysis is also a promising tool in cultural history. However, the talk will also meditate on the analytical limitations of GIS software, which embeds historically contingent concepts of space that often fail to capture the mental and political categories of the Tokugawa period.
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