Role of the Digital Humanities in Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research: A View from Environmental History
This paper explores how digital humanities can positively impact large-scale, data-intensive, socio-environemntal synthesis research. Synthesis research focuses on integrating large data sets, ideas, theories, and methods to accelerate knowledge production and inquiry to lend insight into how humans interact with the biophysical environment. Digital humanities can provide useful baseline data sources for synthesis research through its focus on integrating existing records of human activity with computer technologies, digital cartography, and other forms of data collection and manipulation. This presentation gives original examples of digitization projects from Latin America, ranging from archival cataloguing, transcription, text recognition and analysis to the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and other forms of digital cartography. Through these examples, the paper demonstrates the ways in which digital humanities is capable of facilitating broader, more integrative analyses of human-environment interactions of the past, and can serve to build synergies with scholars from across the social and natural sciences.