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“Deep Maps”: A Brief for Digital Palimpsest Mapping Projects (DPMPs, or “Deep Maps”)


This article proposes a potentially fruitful “next step” for transnational American Studies, inviting colleagues around the world to collaborate on Digital Palimpsest Mapping Projects—DPMPs, or “Deep Maps.” “Deep Maps,” curated collaboratively by scholars in multiple locations, would put multilingual digital archives around the globe in conversation with one another, using maps as the gateway. “Deep Maps” could be read as palimpsests, allowing multiple version of events, texts, and phenomena to be written over each other—with each version visible under the layers. “Deep Maps” would bring multilingual perspectives from multiple archival locations together to complicate our understanding of topics that engaged people across the globe. Links to secondary sources and interpretive frameworks introducing the topic of any given “Deep Map” would help tell transnational stories in fresh ways. “Deep Maps” would not replace traditional scholarship; rather, they would present it in new contexts, amplifying its impact. Some examples of “Deep Maps” currently under construction are explored. By requiring collaboration—across borders, languages, nations, continents, and disciplines—Digital Palimpsest Mapping Projects would bring our interdependence—as scholars, as citizens, as human beings—to the foreground and could help us take the field of transnational American Studies in some exciting new directions.

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