A new spectacular resource for historical and artistic scholarship, MIT’s Visualizing Cultures presents a multimedia approach to looking at Asian history and international social and cultural relations. We have a lengthy description here, but you can also check out the site and let it speak for itself.
What is Visualizing Cultures?
Visualizing Cultures weds images and scholarly commentary in innovative ways to illuminate social and cultural history. Founded in2002 by MIT Professors John Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa, Visualizing Cultures exploits the unique qualities of the Web as a publishing platform to enable scholars, teachers, and others to:
(1) examine large bodies of previously inaccessible images
(2) compose original texts with unlimited numbers of full-color, high-resolution images
(3) use new technology to explore unprecedented ways of analyzing and presenting images that open windows on modern history.
This website offers a growing number of titles referred to as ‘units.’ This first, pioneering set of units visualizes diverse aspects of Japan in the modern world. Units in development move into China and beyond. Units are generally comprised of four sections:
A topical essay written by a Visualizing Cultures scholar and driven by the visuals themselves features full-color images, often enlarged to reveal telling details. Images are isolated and juxtaposed to highlight diverse perspectives and points. Reading images involves asking who the artists are, when they worked, what mediums they used, and how the audiences of the times responded to them.
# Visual Narratives
Graphics dominate the Visual Narratives. Themes from the essay as well as pathways and details within the image collection are explored visually in many different ways-series, close ups, recurring visual motifs, juxtapositions, changing media, and so forth — with a minimum of text.
# Image Database (Gallery and VCID)
Each unit has a database that features every image in the essay, plus many more. The database generally takes the form of a simple view (Gallery) that enables users to easily scroll through the collection of source images. Some units feature a more complex database (VCID) with a federated search function that hooks directly into museum databases. All databases include at least basic metadata.
# Video and Animation (VCTV)
Visualizing Cultures has more than a hundred short clips that include author commentaries, interviews, tours, animation, and archival source footage. Video is also downloadable for the iPod.
- Rise & Fall of the Canton Trade System I, China in the World(1700-1860s)
- Rise & Fall of the Canton Trade System II, Macau & Whampoa Anchorage (1700-1860s)
- Rise & Fall of the Canton Trade System III, Canton & Hong Kong(1700-1860s)
- Rise & Fall of the Canton Trade System IV, Image Galleries
- The First Opium War, The Anglo-Chinese War of 1839-1842
- The Opium War in Japanese Eyes, An Illustrated 1849 Story from Overseas
- The Second Opium War [to be available in 2011], The Anglo-Chinese War of 1856-1860
- Black Ships & Samurai, Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan(1853-1854)
- Black Ships & Samurai II, Visual Narratives;
- Yokohama Boomtown, Foreigners in Treaty-Port Japan (1859-1872)
- Felice Beato’s Japan: Places, An Album by the Pioneer Foreign Photographer in Yokohama
- Felice Beato’s Japan: People, An Album by the Pioneer Foreign Photographer in Yokohama
- Globetrotters’ Japan: Places, Foreigners on the Tourist Circuit in Meiji Japan
- Globetrotters’ Japan: People, Foreigners on the Tourist Circuit in Meiji Japan
- John Thomson’s China I, Illustrations of China and Its People, Photo Albums (1873-1874)
- John Thomson’s China II, Illustrations of China and Its People, Photo Albums (1873-1874)
- Visual Narratives, John Thomson’s China III, Illustrations of China and Its People, Photo Albums (1873-1874)
- Albums & Galleries, Throwing Off Asia I, Woodblock Prints of Domestic ‘Westernization’ (1868-1912)
- Throwing Off Asia II, Woodblock Prints of the Sino-Japanese War(1894-95)
- Throwing Off Asia III, Woodblock Prints of the Russo-Japanese War(1904-05)
- Asia Rising, Japanese Postcards of the Russo-Japanese War(1904-05)
- Yellow Promise, Foreign Postcards of the Russo-Japanese War(1904-05)
- Selling Shiseido I, Cosmetics Advertising & Design in Early20th-Century Japan
- Selling Shiseido II, Cosmetics Advertising & Design in Early20th-Century Japan, Visual Narratives
- Selling Shiseido III, Cosmetics Advertising & Design in Early20th-Century Japan, Image Galleries
- Tokyo Modern I, Koizumi Kishio’s ‘100 Views’ of the Imperial Capital (1928-1940)
- Tokyo Modern II, Koizumi Kishio’s ‘100 Views’, Annotations & Gallery
- Tokyo Modern III, ‘100 Views’ by 8 Artists (1928-1932), Image Galleries
- Ground Zero 1945, Pictures by Atomic Bomb Survivors
- Ground Zero 1945: A Schoolboy’s Story, Testimony of Akihiro Takahashi, Illustrations by Goro Shikoku.
Image from http://visualizingcultures.mit.edu