Searching for Meiji-Tokyo: Heterogeneous Visual Media and the Turn to Global Urban History, Digitalization, and Deep Learning

Global Urban History

By Beate Löffler, University of Duisburg-Essen, Carola Hein, Delft University of Technology, and Tino Mager, Delft University of Technology

For a long time, urban history, as a field of study, focused on textual sources and elite subjects, and the scholars were mostly historians. In the twentieth century, historians studying large western cities started to experiment with a more holistic approach, engaging with other disciplines and sources to gain deeper insight into bigger questions; in particular, they integrated approaches from social sciences and started to shift questions away from material culture to social interaction in a broader sense. Then, in the late 1980s, the spatial turn in the social sciences influenced urban studies, bringing forward the intermingled complexity of social and physical space that is only hinted at in textual sources and thus elusive in research. Some years later, the pictorial turn further widened the field to include…

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