Beth Blackwood

bethHometown: Conover, NC
Class of 2014
Major: History

I’ve been involved in the lab since 2011. During that time I led the curatorial teams that produced “Mapping the City: A Stranger’s Guide” and “Defining Lines: Cartography in the Age of Empire,” which displayed at Duke University’s Perkins Library and the Nasher Museum of Art, respectively. The lab has been an important part of my undergraduate career and I have appreciated the unique research opportunities.

Reflection on Mapping Sovereignty

Although I was not directly involved with Sovereignty Project until the fall of 2013, I have seen vast growth in the project in a short amount of time. The project took some time to focus and identify the question, but the results have been excellent learning experience.

My interests life in the digital humanities and technological aspects of the project and I signed on to work directly with GIS support; however, we were quick to discover that was not the ideal tool for a project with so little numerical data. I was able to find my place in the project through the web development and evaluative processes of situating the projects into the larger digital humanities literature.

Having come from a background in Google Earth from previous experience at the Library of Congress, I was greatly interested in the exposure to related projects. My largest influence came from the writings of Ruth Mostern and Doreen Massey, as they explored new definitions of space through historical analysis and focused on ways to evaluate those processes. Not all projects are great work just because they exist, something that I identified with in my past work with GIS. Mostern and Massey’s work contributed to my ability to put these thoughts to words, which resulted the in the Digital Mapping portion of the site.