In this video, I interview David Bodenhamer, the founding Executive Director of The Polis Center and Professor of History at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, about spatial humanities and the Digital Atlas of American Religion. Prior to his appointment, Bodenhamer was Professor of History and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi (1976-1988). He worked to craft the new field of spatial humanities, and he’s written books entitled The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship (Indiana University Press, 2010) and Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives (Indiana University Press, 2015).
The Digital Atlas of American Religion (DAAR) presents ways for scholars to examine data about religious adherence across the US by major denominational groups at varying scales and with multiple dimensions. For studies using data from the US census, voting statistics, or any other spatially-referenced data, the tools permit researchers to group and map categories easily and in new ways or to aggregate data by user-defined classifications. The tools enhance GIS to make maps more complex, more visually dynamic, and more easily interpreted. To find out more about this project, click here. This work is truly innovative for the humanities, religion, and mapping as it brings unique elements that work with and go beyond GIS computing.