A Digital Atlas of Tokugawa Japan: A work-in-progress report from the Digital Tokugawa Lab
Fabian Drixler, Henry Barnes, Yuki Hoshino, Werner Stangl, and Floris van Swet
Part of the Council of East Asian Studies at the MacMillan Center, the Digital Tokugawa Lab is a group of scholars working on digital humanities projects with a focus on pre-modern Japan. Inspired by the idea that some forms of knowledge production require a range of expertise and a scale of labor that cannot be covered by a single individual, the lab was established in fall 2019 by Fabian Drixler and has four other full-time lab members.
For details, please see Digital Atlas of Tokugawa Japan.
For a year and a half, we have been working away on this digital cartography project. We would now like to share some of our preliminary results, and tell you about how we went about pinning down the locations, borders, and histories of 70,000 villages across three centuries. We will highlight some of the conceptual challenges in historical cartography, and report some of what we have learned about the nature of Tokugawa Japan in the process. Depending on audience interest, we will also talk about our experiences with intensely collaborative work. While we are excited to share some of our work, the timing is also excellent to receive feedback from Japan historians and others who take an interest in projects of this kind; there is time yet to shape our content and interface around the needs of our users. Our eyes are bleary from many months of data cleaning and georeferencing, while yours are fresh and may reveal things we have overlooked or taken for granted.
The talk is primarily targeted at a non-technical audience with an interest in Japanese history, but others, including digital humanities specialists, are of course warmly welcome.
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