EUS 099.01 Berlin in the 20th Century: A HyperCities Mapbox Project

Vanderbilt University Commons Seminar Spring 2015, 2016, & 2017

Taught by Professors Joy H. Calico (2015, 2016) and Peggy Setje-Eilers (2015, 2016)
with Lindsey Fox, GIS Coordinator (Heard Library) and Clifford Anderson, Director of Scholarly Communications (Heard Library)

Taught by Professors Rebecca Panter (2017) and Clifford Anderson (2017)

Vanderbilt University’s Commons Seminars are experimental 1-credit courses offered to first-year students each spring semester. This seminar focuses on two things, and the final project is a synthesis of the two. One of those things was cultural history: we survey the culture and geopolitics of twentieth-century Berlin by focusing on several events since 1900. The other is an introduction to some of the questions and tools of the digital humanities based on the premise of HyperCities, "a collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment." Students learn to use several digital tools (GitHub, Atom, Cloudant, TileMill, Mapbox, GeoJSON) over the course of the semester and work on group projects in time travel, curating tours of Berlin built on historical maps since 1900. The tours include still and moving images, audio, historical documents, and prose. This website features the students’ final projects.

The S16 and S17 students used the same maps the S15 students had used, and could not repeat points the previous class had already set. Our hope is that the students in each iteration of the course will add new points to these five maps as our own project in thick mapping, producing ever richer, denser representations of Berlin in 1908, 1920, 1936, 1947, and 1970.

Course Objectives

Students came away with

Required materials

Final Map Projects

N.B. See this example for instructions about how to encode your ten points as a `FeatureCollection`.

Special thanks to Professor Todd Presner, Faculty Chair of the Digital Humanities Program at UCLA, and Albert Kochaphum, GIS Assistant at the Institute for Digital Research and Education at UCLA, for all their help!