Faculty Bulletin Board

Todd Presner publishes 'HyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities'

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Todd Presner
UCLA

Todd Presner, chair of UCLA’s Digital Humanities Program and professor of Germanic languages, comparative literature and Jewish Studies, has published the book, “HyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities” with Harvard University Press. Presner co-authored  the book with UCLA colleagues David Shepard, lead academic programmer at the Center for Digital Humanities, and Yoh Kawano, campus GIS coordinator the Institute for Digital Research and Education and lecturer in the Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Presner is the founder, director, and editor-in-chief of HyperCities, a collaborative, digital mapping platform created at UCLA that explores the layered histories of city spaces. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation in 2008 as one of its first “digital media and learning” projects, HyperCities is an open-source, web-based platform for “going back in time” to analyze the cultural, urban, and social layers of city spaces. It currently hosts content for more than two dozen cities, including Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, and Rome, with many more cities coming on-board in the future.

in the book "HyperCities," the authors examine the media archaeology of Google Earth and the cultural-historical meaning of map projections, and explore recent events — the “Arab Spring” and the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster — through social media mapping that incorporates data visualizations, photographic documents and Twitter streams. The book also includes a “ghost map” of downtown Los Angeles, polyvocal memory maps of LA’s historic Filipinotown, avatar-based explorations of ancient Rome and hour-by-hour mappings of the 2009 Tehran election protests.

Presner’s research focuses on European intellectual history, the history of media, visual culture, cultural geography and digital humanities. He is also the author of "Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains (Columbia University Press, 2007);  “Muscular Judaism: The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration” (Routledge, 2007); and “Digital Humanities” (MIT Press, 2012), a critical-theoretical exploration of this complex, emerging field.

To read more about "HyperCities," see this story.

The UCLA Center for Jewish Studies is hosting the three co-authors at a public discussion of their book as part of the  Faculty/Student Seminar Series Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. at Charles E. Young Research Library. Reservations are required and can be made by emailing cjsrsvp@humnet.ucla.edu or  by calling 310-267-5327.

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