Where would one walk in Mexico City in 1535 to find Aztec temples dismantled and Spanish-style houses being built with re-used stones? In the summer of 1692, after rioting crowds in the city’s central plaza burned the palace of the Viceroy, where might an indigenous woman from outside the city have gone to sell her flowers? In the 1720s, when mines up north were churning out mounds of ore, how did silver get from Zacatecas to Mexico City to be assayed? And over time, how did these various urban routes and practices inflect each other? It is these questions—which lead to the lived and profoundly spatial experiences of urban history, their relationships across time, and the ways they created human subjects—that The Space of Mexico City (SoMeC) investigates.

SoMeC was conceived by Professors Dana Leibsohn (Smith College) and Barbara Mundy (Fordham University) with the goal of creating born-digital research. In its first iteration, the project comprises a suite of undergraduate seminars, a suite of public (Five College) seminars, and an online historical atlas. Through these forms and formats, SoMeC examines how cartography can open onto contingent, and at times competing spatial and visual experiences in the past. Specifically, the project asks: how can media and software developed for capturing space—from GIS and GoogleEarth, to Neatline and iMovie—be used to drive and display cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in urban history? In other words, how might these technologies, married to traditional research methods, offer ways into a historical imaginary that extends beyond the surface of a map?


Below: A lightning talk by Jeffrey Moro on SoMeC from the 5CollDH 2014 Kick-Off Event.


Project Members:

Dana Leibsohn
Art, Smith College

Barbara Mundy
Art History & Music, Fordham University