Abstract

Slave Revolt in Jamaica uses animated digital cartography to explore contested movements in space. The project addresses elementary historical questions—what happened, when, and where—hoping the answers will reveal something about why the greatest slave insurrection in the eighteenth-century British Empire played out as it did, and with what implications. It shows how scholars can advance the pursuit of knowledge by creating narrative interfaces for databases of information, but it also raises important questions about the production, circulation, and reception of historical narrative beyond the print medium. Multimedia works of history can find unexpected audiences, but there is no necessary correspondence between the interests of the creators and those of the users. What can we learn from these multimedia histories that we don't already know, or couldn't just as easily learn from print? What can historians expect anyone to learn from an analytical story in the form of an animated visualization? I conclude that even as digital scholarship reaches and informs its audience in new ways, historians must still impart old-fashioned methods for reading and interpreting sources.

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