placeholder for event with no featured image.

April 3, 2014, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

A Cultural History of Data Visualization; or, The Long Arc of Visual Display

Event Information

Cultural History of Data Visualization

Lauren Klein,

Assistant Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology


We live in what’s been called the “golden age” of data visualization, and yet, the graphical display of quantitative information has a long history, one that dates to the Enlightenment and arguably before. This talk will explore the origins and applications (both historical and contemporary) of data visualization techniques, locating the emergence of the visualizing impulse in eighteenth-century ideas about data, evidence, and observation. By illuminating these ideas at work in examples past and present, I will show how we can begin to identify the arguments—political as much as aesthetic—that underlie all instances of visual display. In so doing, I will also demonstrate how the digital humanities, through the incorporation of ideas from the fields of media studies, information visualization, and the history of science, might be expanded to consider how data might be conceptualized, visualized, and deployed in order to advance humanistic critique.