Data visualization is not a recent innovation. Even in the nineteenth century, economists and educators, as well as artists and illustrators, were fully aware of the inherent subjectivity of visual perception, the culturally-situated position of the viewer, and the power of images in general—and of visualization in particular—to convey arguments and ideas. In this talk, Lauren F. Klein examines the history of data visualization through the lens of two visualization pioneers: William Playfair (1759-1832) and Elizabeth Peabody (1804-1894), showing how each expressed ideas about data, error, iteration, and interaction through their visual designs. Klein will contend that by attending to how each conceived of these concepts, we might better understand the function of visualization—in the nineteenth century as today—as a way to present concepts, advance arguments and perform critique.
Please RSVP at the event’s website.
Lauren F. Klein is an assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, where she also directs the Digital Humanities Lab. She received her A.B. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her research interests include early American literature and culture, food studies, media studies, and the digital humanities.
With Matthew K. Gold, she edits Debates in the Digital Humanities, a hybrid print/digital publication stream from the University of Minnesota Press. Her writing has also appeared in American Literature, Early American Literature, American Quarterly, and Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, among other venues. She serves as co-PI on the NEH Office of Digital Humanities-funded TOME project, a tool to support the interactive exploration of text-based archives. In addition, she is a member of the executive committee of the MLA’s Digital Humanities Forum and co-head of the Americanist Board of NINES: Nineteenth-Century Scholarship Online.