Digital and Spatial Humanities for Historians


1. Acquire a critical view of the Digital Humanities and Spatial Humanities fields 2. Develop a critical view about the available tools for spatial analysis
3. Acquire expertise working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
4. Recognize the advantages and limitations of using a GIS in the Humanities

5. Applying the concepts and techniques of Spatial Humanities to a research project

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Daniel Ribeiro Alves


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 56

Teaching language



Available soon


Alves, Daniel. 2014. «Introduction: Digital Methods and Tools for Historical Research». International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 8 (1): 1–12.
Bodenhamer, David J., John Corrigan, e Trevor M. Harris, eds. 2010. The spatial humanities: GIS and the future of humanities scholarship. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Gold, Matthew K., and Lauren F. Klein, eds. 2016. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Gregory, Ian N, and A Geddes, eds. 2014. Toward Spatial Humanities: Historical GIS and Spatial History. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Warf, Barney, and Santa Arias, eds. 2009. The spatial turn: interdisciplinary perspectives. London: Routledge.

Teaching method

In-class participation will be assessed by the student’s interventions in the debates on theoretical classes, comments on papers or methodologies presented, by performing specific exercises related to the content of the class and by their participation in collaborative tasks during practical exercises. The final work will correspond to the application of the several methodologies explained, using historical sources to develop several analysis and visualizations. In the end the student must produce a GIS or Web-GIS visualization using the specific software presented in class. The topic of these analysis and visualizations can be choose by the students with the approval of the instructor.

Evaluation method

Método de Avaliação - • in-class participation and exercises(40%), • one final work to apply the spatial analysis methodologies to historical sources and problems, done in a computer environment(60%)

Subject matter

1. Theoretical approach to Digital and Spatial Humanities (3 hours)
1.1. Introduction to Digital Humanities: concept, evolution and current state of art 1.2. The spatial turn and the Humanities
1.3. From Historical-GIS to the Spatial Humanities
2. Review of spatial tools (2 hours)
2.1. Do we need a GIS?
2.2. Do we need a GIS on our PC?
2.3. Do we need to buy a GIS?
3. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (2 hours)
3.1. Definition of a GIS
3.2. How a GIS works
3.3. Types of data and metadata
3.4. Using a GIS in the Humanities: projects and applications
4. Using a Geographic Information System (3 hours)
4.1. How to structure spatial data
4.2. Creating a project and working with the software
4.3. Exploring, analysing and visualizing
5. Developing your own spatial humanities project (2 hours)
5.1. Working with your data
5.2. Hands-on approach to Spatial Humanities
5.3. Final discussion


Programs where the course is taught: