Visualization and the Holocaust

Analyzing Space and Place with Digital Methods and Geographical, Textual, and Visual Sources

January 17, 2019 — January 18, 2019
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Holocaust was an historical event that has profoundly shaped our understanding of modern society and has left behind a vast historical record. In the last decade, more and more of that record has become (and is becoming) available digitally.

This public conference seeks to reflect synthetically on the first decade of historical and spatial analysis of the Holocaust through the use of digital methods. What interpretive problems are illuminated by different physical, textual, and visual sources, such as physical killing sites, bureaucratic documents, postwar survivor interview transcripts, photographs, and maps? In addition to presentations on how digital methods have been used in Holocaust Studies (with beneficial and problematic results), the conference will broaden the scope and impact of such a discussion by opening up a dialogue in each session with digital historians and visualization experts from a broader range of fields. Learn more here.

The conference will be followed on Saturday by a workshop of conference participants (closed to the public). This workshop will draw on the contributions and expertise of Margaret Pearce (Cartographer) Erik Steiner (Co-Director, CESTA, Standford University), and Lance Winn (Center for Material Cultural Studies, University of Delaware).

Co-Sponsored by the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies (Duke University); The Jack,Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum); Nasher Museum of Art (Duke University); Office of the Dean, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Humanities Division (Duke University); Duke Research Computing (Duke University); John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (Duke University); Duke Center for Jewish Studies.


Thursday, Januory 17: Keynote, 5:30PM

“An Epistemology of the Virtual: or, what can Concealing Reveal?”
(Lance Winn, Department of Art and Design, and Center for Material Culture Studies, University of Delaware)

Friday, January 18: Conference Panels and Speakers

Welcome and lntroduction [9:00-9:15AM]
(Sarah Schroth, Nasher Museum of Art; Robert M. Ehrenreich, Mandel Center, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Paul Jaskot, Duke University)

The Ethics of Visual Sources and Visualization [9:15-10:30AM]
(Session Chair: Michael Haley Goldman, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

  • A Day at the Beach: Littoral Space in the Liepäja Massacre Photographs (Daniel Magilow, University of Tennessee)
  • Cartography and the R.epresentation of Atrocity (Margaret Pearce, Cartographer)
  • Respondent (Paul Jaskot, Duke University)

Criminal Places as (Digitized and Digital) Data [10:45AM-12:00PM]
(Session Chair: Eve Duffy, Duke University)

  • Spaces and Places of the Holocaust: Methodological Reflections (Alberto Giordano, Texas State University)
  • Conflict Urbanism: Colombia – The Memory of a Conflict Through a Single Dataset (Juan Francisco Saldarriaga, Columbia University)
  • Respondent (Anton Kusters, Independent Artist)

Historical Texts as (Digitized and Digital) Spatial Data [1:30-2:45PM]
(Session Chair: Anika Walke, Washington University)

  • I Was Here: Spatial Problems in Holocaust Survivor Interviews (Anne Kelly Knowles, University of Maine, and Tim Cole, Bristol University)
  • Text Mining Archival Records to Map 19th-Century Potato Blight (Laura Tateosian, North Carolina State University)
  • Respondent (Todd Presner, UCLA)

Pedagogical Approaches to Visualizing (Holocaust and non-Holocaust) Digital Datasets [3:00-4:15PM]
(Session Chair: Robert M. Ehrenreich, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

  • Constructing a Teachable Archive: Curating a Primary Source Experience in the Digital World (Leah Wolfson, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Contested Histories: Collaborative Approaches to Visualizing Cultural Heritage (Victoria Szabo, Duke University)
  • Respondent (Rachel Deblinger, UC Santa Cruz)

Concluding Roundtable [4:15-5:00]
(Moderators: Robert M. Ehrenreich and Paul Jaskot) – Reception to Follow

Saturday, January 19: Closed Workshop

Contributors: Margaret Pearce (Cartographer) Erik Steiner (Co-Director, CESTA, Standford University), and Lance Winn (Center for Material Cultural Studies, University of Delaware)


Paul Jaskot

Victoria Szabo


A Cultural Analysis of Ghettos


Mapping German Construction

Huffman at Venice Digital Humanities Workshop

November 29, 2018 — November 30, 2018
Kristin L. Huffman

Kristin Huffman’s research and collaborative digital project “Jacopo de’ Barbari’s Marvelous View of 1500″ will be showcased at the University of Minnesota’s Venice Digital Humanities Workshop presented by the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World on November 30th, 2018. Huffman writes, “This digital project brings to life the city of Venice through Jacopo de’ Barbari and Anton Kolb’s iconic View of Venice. Even though scholars consistently refer to the mural-sized woodblock print as a visual document of the city as it appeared in 1500, this project is the first time that the View becomes a centerpiece for engaging with the life of Venice.”

Huffman is also presenting “Picturing the Venetian State: Celebrations of Dogaressa Morosini and Doge Grimani” at the University of Minnesota on November 29, 2018. This lecture “contextualizes the many representations that focus on Morosina, including her lavish Coronation as Dogaressa [of Venice] in 1597, in addition to those of Marino Grimani as her companion.”


A Portrait of Venice

Video: Ed Triplett on Unreal Spaces and Real Places

October 12, 2018
Ed Triplett

From Ed Triplett’s presentation at the October 12, 2018, Visualization Friday Forum:

Unreal Spaces and Real Places: Visualizing the Virtual World of the Book of Fortresses



This lecture will trace the progress of a virtual reconstruction project that has wrestled with a spatially complex primary source. The Livro das Fortalezas, or Book of Fortresses contains 120 perspective drawings and 57 plans of castles and fortified towns on the border between Portugal and Spain in 1509-1510. The book’s creator, a Portuguese squire named Duarte de Armas, was a surveyor and military architect whose methods for visualizing the castles involved an inconsistent combination of precision and cartographic license. His tendency to measure walls precisely, yet improvise the scale, shape and position of towers, hills, rivers and other landscape features, makes the “world” of his book particularly difficult to recreate. Nonetheless, these challenges make it possible to move past hypothetical reconstructions of the fortresses in favor of an analysis of Duarte de Armas’ license to represent what he saw. This lecture will outline a variety of spatial approaches to the problem that have been attempted over the past year, including the use of 3D GIS and landscape-scale “world building” software.


Book of Fortresses

Kristin Huffman Previews Correr Museum Installation

October 9, 2018
Ballroom of the Correr Museum at Piazza San Marco, Venice
Kristin L. Huffman

Dr. Huffman will present plans for a new installation at the Correr Museum on October 9th. Registration is requested.

Jacopo de’ Barbari’s View made visible the mythical identity of Venice. Published more than 500 years ago, the woodblock print presented an astonishingly detailed portrait of the city from a bird’s eye view.  An artistic and technical marvel, it was immediately recognized for its inventions in composition, scale, and precision. At the time of the View’s production in 1500, Venice was one of the wealthiest and most powerful states in the Early Modern world. A city whose curved urban form seemingly floated on water, it was experienced, lived, and navigated unlike any in the world. Over 300 bridges connected a mosaic of islands, each intersected by canals. Lining them, palatial architecture announced boundless wealth and foreign associations. Scattered throughout the city and surrounding islands, churches declared extreme piety, even if residents enjoyed extensive liberties. The architecture at Piazza San Marco and Rialto, principal sites of governance and commerce, promoted a distinctive civic identity. Visual evidence of Venice’s urban sophistication and splendor was recorded for all to admire in this singular work of art.

The future installation at the Correr Museum will bring the View’s magnificent details to life. The print and the original wooden blocks used to publish the six large-scale sheets, form the centerpiece for interactive multi-media displays. The digital stories, alongside select pieces from the collection, will recount the city’s historic and artistic significance and present a state of the art museum experience, a portal to entering the world of sixteenth-century Venice.


A Portrait of Venice

Imagining Venice

Digital Pedagogy Series: Practitioners on teaching & research with digital technologies

September 26, 2018 — October 19, 2018

The Wired! Lab is pleased to be a cosponsor with the Franklin Humanities Institute for the Representing Migration Humanities Lab’s fall event series on digital pedagogy. Wired! Director Paul Jaskot and Digital Humanities Specialist Hannah Jacobs will be panelists at the October 19th Digital Research in Progress session. Registration is open to Wired! students and affiliates while seats are available. RSVP to kel32[at]

Introduction to Digital Pedagogy Options at Duke

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | 12:00-1:30PM | 314 Allen Bldg

This presentation will help you lay the groundwork for using digital tools in the humanities classroom. Brian Norberg (Trinity Technology Services) and Amanda Starling Gould (Franklin Humanities Institute) will introduce digital pedagogy tools, digital humanities assignments, and digital resources for instructors and graduate researchers at Duke.

Digital Pedagogy Roundtable

Friday, September 28, 2018 | 11:00AM-12:30PM | 218 Perkins Library

Moderated by Brian Norberg (Trinity Technology Services) and Liz Milewicz (Digital Scholarship Services), this session will feature presentations from and discussions with graduate students, recent graduates, and faculty who are teaching in a range of disciplines with a variety of digital technologies: from eco-critical digital humanities to visual studies and data science to literature and art history to classical studies. Methods discuss include digital archive and exhibition building with Omeka and Neatline and interactive visual storytelling with TimelineJS, among other topics. Presenters are Amanda Starling Gould (Franklin Humanities Institute), Astrid Giugni and Jessica Hines (English), Nathan Bullock (Art, Art History & Visual Studies), and Adrian Linden-High (Classical Studies).

Digital Research in Progress

Friday, October 19, 2018 | 11:30AM-1:00P | Wired! Lab, A233 Bay 11 Smith Warehouse

This session focuses on challenges and lessons learned about creating and sustaining digital projects. Liz Milewicz (Digital Scholarship Services) and Hannah Jacobs (Wired! Lab) will discuss project planning and collaboration. Paul Jaskot (Art, Art History & Visual Studies & Wired! Lab) will present his research in process, presenting on digital methods he has been engaging. Seth Kotch (Digital Humanities, UNC) will present on his experience working with NEH-funded collaborative history projects.

Image Credits: Posters by Karen Little; Cover Image by Hans van Reenen.

Digital Humanities Workshop at the National Humanities Center

October 2, 2018
National Humanities Center, 7 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC

The National Humanities Center is hosting a one-day workshop titled “Digital Humanities Nuts and Bolts: From Idea to Sustainable Project” on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. The workshop “will focus on planning, logistics, and long-term maintenance of digital humanities (DH) projects.” Registration is free and open.

Wired! Lab Director Paul Jaskot will present during the session “5-Minute Talks on DH Projects in Teaching and Research” and Digital Humanities Specialist Hannah Jacobs will presenting during “Panel III: Project Management and DH”. They will be joined by area scholars and experts from North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Additional scholars and experts joins from Texas A&M University, University of Georgia, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Image Credit: National Humanities Center

Visualization Friday Forum: Spatial Analysis of the Holocaust

September 7, 2018
Duke University West Campus, D106 LSRC

Wired! Director Paul Jaskot will be presenting at the first Visualization Friday Forum of the fall 2018 semester. The presentation will be livestreamed and recorded. Find out more about the series.

This lecture explores how historical GIS, corpus linguistics, and digital visualization are central to explaining the role of construction in the Holocaust. The Holocaust occurred at all scales—from the continental to the level of the individual—and understanding those shifting scales of genocide requires the mixed methods that digital and analog approaches enable. Focusing on the two case studies of the SS concentration camp system and the ghettos in occupied Europe, I will argue for an integrated analysis of the Holocaust that sees the dynamic spatial relationship between perpetrators and victims above all in the buildings and forced-labor construction industry of which they were a part.

MA Student Emily Leon on Esoteric Art, Visualization, and Text Analysis

August 31, 2018
Emily Leon


Tell us about yourself and why you chose the MA in Digital Art History track.

Emily Leon received her B.A. in Art History summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Afterward, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she worked in arts administration for organizations including SITE Santa Fe and the Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe (CCA). While in Santa Fe, she launched Desert Suprematism, an online journal that explores themes of religious innovation and esoteric spirituality as agents of cultural, intellectual, and social change in the modern era. Her academic work in particular focuses on the spiritual dynamic in modern art. She chose the MA Digital Art History program at Duke University for its promotion of interdisciplinary research and interest in employing digital and computational methodologies to humanistic inquiry.

What is the most valuable skill or concept you have learned so far in the MA program?

The most valuable skill I have learned from this program so far is how truly provocative humanistic research questions can become once one begins to employ digital methods in their work. Without a doubt, new questions will always be introduced. The power of digital and computational methods, however, can often lead to a struggle for truth and interpretation.

How are you using digital technologies in your thesis research?

I employ analog, digital, and historical methods in my thesis to explore an interesting albeit problematic encounter between Swedish artist Hilma af Klint and Austrian philosopher and esotericist Rudolf Steiner. In so doing, I will demonstrate that the scholarly tendency to affiliate af Klint with Steiner and Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky as a means of validating her place in the canon is not the historical argument we should be looking for. The speculation around af Klint’s relationship to Steiner claims he allegedly negatively impacted her works between the years 1908 and 1912. Digital methods afford the opportunity to analyze this particular moment with the assistance of interactive data visualization software and text analysis. These systems not only show there was no shift in af Klint’s iconography before 1908 and after 1912, but also demonstrate that art history still needs a clearer picture of af Klint.

How do you see your experience in this MA program advancing your career goals?

This is an incredibly challenging question. The best answer I can provide is that our data driven culture makes technical and digital knowledge in humanities related fields a hot commodity, as scholars, museums, archives, universities, and galleries all employ technology in some capacity. Knowing how to use digital and computational tools in the field of art history in particular introduces new research questions and methodologies.

Jaskot part of NEH grant for The Holocaust Ghettos Project

August 9, 2018
John Taormina

Paul Jaskot, professor of art, art history and visual studies and director of the Wired! Lab at Duke, is the joint recipient of a 3-year National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Advancement Grant of $296,455, along with Anne Knowles (University of Maine, Orono) and Anika Walke (Washington University, St. Louis). Knowles is project director, with the grant based at the University of Maine, and Jaskot and Walker are co-project directors.

The grant will fund “The Holocaust Ghettos Project: Reintegrating Victims and Perpetrators through Places and Events.” The project involves the creation of a spatial model of 1,400 Jewish ghettos during the Holocaust that maps the locations of victims and perpetrators and extracts content from interviews about the experience of living in ghettos, allowing scholars to analyze the relationships between perpetrators and victims using geospatial methods. For Jaskot, the grant will support his research on Krakow and the German construction industry from World War I through the Holocaust. The project forms a new chapter for the team’s Holocaust Geographies Collaborative.


Mapping German Construction

What happened at the NEH Virtual & Augmented Reality Summer Institute

The NEH V/ARDHI Summer Institute has come to a close, but the work has only just begun. Here’s what happened July 23 – August 3, 2018 at Duke. Look for more announcements, publications, and new projects from the participants and conveners in the coming year.