Theses Master's

Amplifying and Uncovering Underrepresented Narratives: A New Data-Based Experimental Method for Cultural Heritage Research

Wang, Hongye

The field of historic preservation is engaged in rigorous conversations around inclusion. To confront and address this status quo at a deeper level, preservationists envision an optimistic future in which technologies, data, and digital media can have a social impact on inequity and injustice. The inadequately represented stories and experiences of underrepresented communities embedded in the built environment require new survey methods that leverage technologies to enhance preservationists' understanding of these underrepresented narratives.

This thesis is situated at constructing an experimental method for cultural heritage research. It reviews emerging data collection methods for underrepresented histories in the digital era from both literature and practice to establish guiding principles for experimental method design. Building upon these principles, this thesis identifies new data sources for historical information from digital platforms, constructs a workflow for data collection, develops multiple research frameworks aiming for different scales, and discusses the application and adaptability of the new method developed. The primary task of the method constructed is to amplify and uncover heritage researchers' understanding of known and new sites, respectively.

New York City, with its abundant heritages from diverse communities and a mature data environment, provides an ideal location for testing experimental research methods. The case study of queer heritage in Greenwich Village has yielded promising results that demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. This thesis summarizes the research process of developing and applying the experimental method and discusses how interdisciplinary work can shed light on the discourse of social justice on a broader scope via heritage studies.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Avrami, Erica C.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 21, 2023