Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mapping American Religious History in the City

I spent some time playing with this mapping project today.  Here is a description:

This is an interactive bibliography of books published about religious history in a particular American city. Its aim is to show where historians of American religion have focused their attention—and where they have not.

Click on a city and see what has been written about the religious history of that city.  Or you can move the timeline to see the historiographical development of urban religious history over the last half-century.  

Nice work Paul Putz and Lincoln Mullen!  For more information check out Putz's post at Religion in American History  Here is a taste:

Back when I thought my dissertation would focus on religion in Omaha, I took a keen interest in American religious history books that had been framed to fit within the context of a specific city. With books like Robert Orsi's Madonna of 115th StreetWallace Best's Passionately Human, No Less DivineMargaret Bendroth's Fundamentalists in the CityMary Lethert Wingerd's Claiming the Cityand Matthew Bowman's The Urban Pulpit in the back of my mind, earlier this year one of the digital mapping projects from Lincoln Mullen inspired me to think about the possibility of combining mapping with bibliography. The idea was to make a map of city-based studies of religion so that someone could click on a location -- say, "Chicago" -- and up would pop a list of books dealing with religion in that city.

Unfortunately, my CartoDB mapping skills were simply not up to the task. Fortunately, though, Lincoln offered to use his digital wizardry to make the bibliographic map a reality. Thanks to Lincoln's efforts, I'm proud to announce that our little project is now ready for public use. The end result is even better and more robust than I had imagined: easy to navigate, searchable, clean, and crisp. Although the difficult work is done, now we need your help. Our initial set of data includes only about 170 books. If you have time, browse over to the map and help us make it more complete by letting us know what books we have missed.