Topical places, textual spaces

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Date

2019-11-22

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Abstract

When the Royal Geographical Society in London made plans to purchase a magic lantern in 1890 for lectures, one of their members objected by calling the lantern show a “Sunday School Treat.” This keynote combines text analysis with geospatial mapping to trace the treat’s legacy. Such an approach is made possible by Lucerna, an open access resource that digitally remediates information about when and where lantern shows occurred. I use topic modeling, a form of statistical analysis, to identify literary tropes in eyewitness accounts of lantern shows that took place in Britain between 1874 and 1903. Mapping these topics reveals that the textual landscape created by missionary periodicals did not reflect the geographic distribution of lantern shows. Instead, published accounts offered a relatively uniform view of the lantern as an educational tool, regardless of the audience. This mode of media archaeology ultimately implicates acts of analog remediation in digital visualizations.

Description

This presentation was delivered as a keynote at "Space is the Place: Mapping Visual Media & the Geospatial Turn," a workshop co-organized by B-magic nad the Centre for Urban History at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

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Pre-Cinema, Digital Humanities, GIS, Topic Modeling

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Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

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Presentation

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