Doing Multivocal Spatial History
Reading Across Places
Bodies and Structures uses a method that we call “reading across places” to do multivocal spatial history. Reading across places means allowing concepts of space to emerge from different articulations and experiences of place and vice versa. Bodies and Structures uses reading across places to enable users to analyze the production of spaces and places from either direction and as a dialectic. The environment encourages “an associative, connecting method of assemblage [best] described as rhizomatic,” in which unexpected amalgams or connections emerge through “forced juxtaposition of dissimilar components designed to produce frictions” (Pearson and Shanks 2014, 205). In this sense, Bodies and Structures uses digital tools to create spatial histories that are performances (of juxtapositions) as well as processes (of multivocal interpretation).
Or, as we like to say: Release the Rhizome!
Ok But What Do You Mean Really?
The point of all this is that you don’t have to start with a cartographic map and work down to specific stories tied to specific locale. We encourage you to start from the spatial concepts that those historical experiences generated and explore their historical manifestations in multiple places. Or, you can start from the map of the site to see how we as authors created relationships between people, places, themes, and events in the digital space of Bodies and Structures. And if you want to work with the cartographic map, you can do that, too.
Follow the path below for a click-by-click guide to using Bodies and Structures, including a special guide for using Bodies and Structures as a researcher, teacher, or student. Or, skip ahead to the so what: “Reorienting Our Scholarship.”