Mapping Expatriate Paris, 1800-1960: Digital Maps for Literary Studies

Paris 1900

Stein's Paris

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Colette Colligan, Department of English

Project team: Michelle Levy, Department of English, and Sarah Bull and Justin Song, research assistants

Timeframe: May 2015 to March 2016

Funding: $5,000  

Course addressed: Paris Field School

Final report: View Colette Colligan's final project report (PDF)

Literary critics, such as Edward Said, Franco Moretti, and Brent Hayes Edwards, have shown the complex ways in which literature registers the interdependent histories of the diverse cultures that girdle the globe. I regularly draw on these critics in my teaching, in English courses such as the Victorians and Italy, Expatriate Writers in Paris, and East End Writing. I am looking for ways to visualize this kind of literary scholarship and give students a visual tool for undertaking their own geocultural literary and historical analyses.

My overall objective is to find or customize an accessible digital mapping tool that will enable students to illuminate the pathways of culture and mark up of important sites, routes, interactions, arrivals, and departures for further literary and historical analysis. My specific goal is to develop this digital mapping tool for my Summer 2015 Paris Field School, a new study abroad program offered by the English Department and overseen by International Services for Students. I anticipate this digital mapping tool will have utility beyond my Field School for use in my other courses that explore the relationship between place and literature. This tool may also have broader interest to my colleagues in English, History, and Humanities.

Questions addressed:

  • What mapping software is available and most suitable for my teaching purposes and practicable for students?
  • What kind of training is available and appropriate for using this software?
  • How can I adapt and customize this software for my purposes? What is the best web platform for hosting this digital tool and publishing these digital maps?
  • Which historical maps are most appropriate and available for digitization?
  • What kind of geo-reference capability will I design for my mapping tool?
  • How can I best maximize student interest in the tool and understanding of its usefulness for literary analysis?
  • How can I best train students to use the tool, mark up the maps, use them in their fieldwork, and incorporate them in their fieldwork blogs?  How can I best assess their learning?
  • How can my tool have utility beyond my own field school program?

Knowledge sharing:

Colligan, C., & Levy, M. (2017). The Lakes, the field, and beyond: Digital fieldwork assignments for humanities field schools. In P. Yoder, C. Colligan & M. Levy (Eds.) Study abroad in the lake district and beyond [Special Issue]. Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons. Retrieved from:

Colligan, C., & Levy, M. (2014 July). Designing student assignments for field schools. Presentation at the 22nd North American Society of the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) Conference: Romantic Organizations. Washington, DC.

Yoder, P., Colligan, C., & Levy, M. (2017). Introduction. In P. Yoder, C. Colligan & M. Levy (Eds.) Study abroad in the lake district and beyond [Special Issue]. Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons. Retrieved from: