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IDSEMUG 2056 - Critical Approaches to Information Visualization

Information visualization is indispensable to how modern science, government, and business operate because it affords us with a means of communicating and analyzing trends in vast, complex data sets. We depend upon our charts, graphs, diagrams, and timelines both to understand our world and to take action in it. However, we often find ourselves ill-equipped to analyze the designs, epistemological functions, and social impact of information visualizations, despite the fact that they impinge so directly on the production and circulation of knowledge. This course equips participants with a set of theoretical tools for interpreting non-verbal, primarily non-pictorial visualizations so that they can become more critical consumers of information visualizations in their academic and professional work as well as in their day-to-day lives. Furthermore, it is a central contention of this course that, despite information visualization’s certain importance to modern life, it has always been important to the production and circulation of knowledge. As such, readings draw on both premodern and modern examples taken from a wide geographic range. Key theoretical and historical texts will include work by: Davis Baird, Persis Berlekamp, Jacques Bertin, James Elkins, Ursula Klein, Edward Tufte, and Colin Ware. Class Notes: FULFILLS GALLATIN DEGREE REQUIREMENT: SCIENCE.
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Fall 2020, Fall 2019
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