Calendar of Events

Fall 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013
Robert Markley (English, University of Illinois)
Mapping the Great Lakes: Computational Analysis and Climate History, 1680-1850
3:30 pm Curtin 118

Bringing together high performance computing, environmental and colonial history, and the history of climatology, Robert Markley addresses broad questions about how humanists—digital and otherwise—understand and write about the Little Ice Age (c. 1680-1850), a period of longer winters, short and erratic summers, and unstable growing seasons.

By examining approximately 400 British and French maps of the Great Lakes Region published between 1680 and 1850, Markley and his collaborators have studied the possibility that seemingly erratic variations in the sizes and shapes of the lakes actually may encode both short-term meteorological and long-term climatological changes. Using segmentation ball algorithms, automated visual analytics, and topic modeling, the team developed image analyses that allow researchers across the disciplines to explore connections between cartography and contemporary depictions of short-term weather patterns and longer-term climatological conditions.

Markley’s talk will focus on one area particularly sensitive to changes in lake levels and ice cover: the northern lobe of Lake Huron, particularly Georgian Bay and Manitoulin Island. This project grows out of his share of collaborative investigations funded by NSF, NEH, and the Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. His collaborators include Michael Simeone, Kenton McHenry, Deepak Neralla, Peter Bajcsy, and Tenzing Shaw.

Background reading for lecture and brown bag discussion:
Robert Markley, "Time," in Telemorphosis: Theory in the Era of Climate Change, Vol. 1, ed. Tom Cohen (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Open Humanities Press, 2012), 43-64.

Robert Markley is the W. D. and Sara E. Trowbridge Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Recent books include The Far East and the English Imagination 1600-1730 (Cambridge, 2006) and Dying Planet: Mars in Science and the Imagination (Duke, 2005).

Map of Lake Huron

Brown bag lunch discussion
October 18
12 noon Curtin 939

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