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New Projects in Digital Art History: Putting the Research Question First: Digital Mapping and the Reconsideration of the Vernacular Architecture of Auschwitz

Elizabeth Cropper, Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, offers a welcome and introduction to the conference “New Projects in Digital Art History,” held on November 21, 2014. In the first lecture of the conference, Paul B. Jaskot, DePaul University, considers how specific kinds of art-historical problems relate to digital mapping methods. Jaskot focuses on this question through a case study of the digital visualization of space and the built environment at Auschwitz, a site of generic and mostly functional buildings that can be labeled, broadly, as vernacular. In this case study, stemming from Jaskot’s ongoing collaboration with Anne Kelly Knowles, digital mapping as part of the research process allows a more critical historical analysis of one of the most brutal architectural planning endeavors of the modern period. Furthermore, the study highlights the methodological potential of digital analysis for a renewed emphasis on vernacular architecture as a central subject of art history.