Jeremy Mikecz, USC-Mellon Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow (2017–2019)

Current Position: Fellow in the Neukom Institute for Computational Science, Dartmouth College

Depression-Era Migration

Depression-Era Migration: In collaboration with Myron Gutmann and Angela Cunningham at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado.

Indigenous Geographies of the Colonial World

Indigenous Geographies of the Colonial World: This project is a digital and spatial analysis of the ways the social, environmental, political, and economic geography of Indigenous Peru changed over the course of two centuries during the transition from Inka to Spanish colonial dominion. It adapts and applies new, cutting-edge techniques from corpus and computational linguistics, literary geography, affective and experimental cartography, and spatial history towards the creation of a “deep map” and “spatial narrative” mapping how these changes took place across space as well as time.

Mapping Conquests (and other Spatial Acts): A Spatial History of the Spanish Invasion of Indigenous Peru

Mapping Conquests (and other Spatial Acts): A Spatial History of the Spanish Invasion of Indigenous Peru:

This study integrates these methods – as well as lessons from similar interdisciplinary fields such as literary geography and Historical GIS – into a new two-step methodology. This methodology: a) deconstructs colonial texts and traces how they conceal Indigenous activity and presence, and b) reconstructs the role of previously erased or marginalized Indigenous people, places, institutions, and histories.

For the conquest of Peru, the resulting analysis contributes to other scholarship examining the key role of Indigenous allies and auxiliaries in shaping the events of the conquest era. Unlike previous research – which is largely anecdotal – this study systematically reconstructs the ubiquity and magnitude of this aid and participation. Moreover, it shows Andean allies invited, guided, accompanied, and fought alongside the conquistadors not as passive subordinates but as political actors pursuing their own agenda.

Toponymia Americana: Indigenous and European Place Names across the Americas

Toponymia Americana: Indigenous and European Place Names across the Americas:

I grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Surrounding Waukesha are towns with names such as Pewaukee, Mukwonago, Muskego, and Oconomowoc. The nearest large city is Milwaukee. The state itself borders Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan (well the Upper Peninsula anyways).

What do these place names all have in common?

All are Indigenous place names that have survived centuries of colonial removal and modern (neocolonial) erasures. The pronunciation and location of these names has changed over time. For some, the original meaning has been lost or lost in translation. For others, the meaning and importance of these names is preserved by descendant communities, if anyone bothers to ask.

This tension between Indigenous resilience and colonial and modern erasures defines nearly every corner of the Americas. Studying these place names, thus offers the chance to dismantle several intellectual and academic barriers, including those dividing the local and the global; North and Latin America; the Indigenous and Western.

This project examines what can be learned by applying a ‘big data’ approach to place names. The creation of large digital datasets and the tools to process and analyze these datasets have revolutionized other fields of study, such as demographic history, public health – and for textual study, corpus linguistics – to name a few.