I know the title of this “The Best…” list is a bit strange, but I couldn’t figure out a better one.

Some fascinating projects are going on to visualize how people throughout the world have interacted throughout history. Here are the two that I know of, and I hope others can point me in the direction of others. It seems to me these resources have the potential of some really exciting lesson plans (and if you have some ideas on how to use them in class, please leave them in the comments section).

The sentiment of the world throughout history through Wikipedia

Here’s how The New York Times describes this project:

Kalev Leetaru, a researcher at the University of Illinois, has been looking at the capacious volunteer-written encyclopedia as a Big Data resource, concentrating on the connections between cities around the globe over time. To understand these connections, he focuses on the type of language used to talk about a particular place, to see whether the writers have a generally positive or negative sentiment toward the place at that time.

The result is an interesting historical atlas of the rise of globalization and warfare.

You can read more about it at The New York Times article, How Big Data Sees Wikipedia.

The Atlantic has an even more useful and accessible summary of the project.

You can see a related video.

Mapping The Republic Of Letters

As The New York Times
describes it, Stanford has:

used today’s digital technology to reconstruct the network of Enlightenment correspondence that linked thinkers like Locke, Voltaire and Rousseau.

The project is called The Republic Of Letters. They’ve got a fascinating website that has a great interactive.

Here’s a video about the project:

This is a pretty intriguing interactive infographic:

You may have read about a project to “chart the movement of Western culture over the past 2,000 years.”

Here’s a video animation of the project:

Sict Degrees of Francis Bacon is a similar project. Here’s a video about it:

Mapping The Enlightenment

Relationships between philosophers over time

Feedback is welcome.

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You might also want to explore the 900 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.