Dr. Anne K. Knowles

AK by Adam Kuykendall 2015 Dr. Anne Kelly Knowles
Professor of History
207-581-1919 or 802-989-3824
145 Stevens Hall
E-Mail: anne.knowles@maine.eduCo-founder, Holocaust Geographies Collaborative http://holocaustgeographies.geo.txstate.edu/

Research Interests
Historical geography
Historical GIS, Geovisualization, and Digital Humanities
The Holocaust
Nineteenth-century United States
Intersections of economy, technology, and culture and their expression in the landscape

As an historical geographer, I am endlessly interested in the relationship between historical events, ways of life, how places evolve, geographical circumstances, and spatial connections. I have studied what moved Welsh people to emigrate to the United States, why American entrepreneurs struggled to match the productivity of the British iron industry, and a few of the many geographies of the Holocaust. For me, every study begins with questions of why certain things happened in some places and not others; how local conditions influenced people’s decisions; and how human actions shaped the built and natural landscape. I also have an abiding interest in finding methodological solutions to intellectual problems and in fostering productive, creative collaboration among scholars and students. Building bridges across disciplines has been a hallmark of my career.

After studying English and American literature as an undergraduate, I worked for years as a book editor in New York and Chicago. In the mid-1980s I happened to discover historical geography while editing a new U.S. history textbook with an ambitious map program. It changed my life. I received my PhD in Geography from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993 and took up my first teaching position that year in the Institute of Earth Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. There I taught primarily in Welsh, a beautiful language that I had learned to research 19th-century Welsh immigration for my dissertation. A postdoctoral fellowship at Wellesley College lured me back to the USA. A few years in the American wilderness followed, during which I began to focus on the potential of using GIS (geographic information systems) in historical research and teaching. In 2002 when I was hired into a tenure-track position in the Geography Department at Middlebury College, where I taught for thirteen years. I joined the Department of History at the University of Maine in August 2015.

Major Fellowships, Grants, and Awards

Guggenheim Fellowship (2015)   http://www.gf.org/fellows/all-fellows/anne-kelly-knowles/

John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Award, Association of American Geographers (2014).

American Ingenuity Award for Historical Scholarship, Smithsonian magazine (2012).

National Science Foundation Collaborative Research Grant, Holocaust Historical GIS, with Alberto Giordano as fellow PI (2008 – 2011).

National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship (2005).

American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship (1999).


Geographies of the Holocaust (2014), edited by Anne Kelly Knowles, Tim Cole, and Alberto Giordano. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. I co-authored four chapters.

Mastering Iron: The Struggle to Modernize an American Industry, 1800 – 1868 (2013). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship (2008), edited Knowles, digital supplement edited by Amy Hillier. Redlands, Cal.: ESRI Press. I wrote the introduction and co-authored a chapter on what General Robert E. Lee could see at Gettysburg.

Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History (2002), edited by Knowles. Redlands, Cal.: ESRI Press.

Calvinists Incorporated: Welsh Immigrants on Ohio’s Industrial Frontier (1997). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Other major publications

“Historical GIS and Social Science History” (2016). Social Science History 40(4), pp. 741-750.

“Inductive Visualization: A Humanistic Alternative to GIS” (2015). GeoHumanities 1(2), pp. 233-265. DOI 10.1080/2373566X.2015.1108831.

“Why We Must Make Maps: Historical Geography as a Visual Craft” (2014). Historical Geography 42 (2014): 3 – 26.

“A Cutting-Edge Second Look at the Battle of Gettysburg” (2013). Available online at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/A-Cutting-Edge-Second-Look-at-the-Battle-of-Gettysburg.html.

“Geography, Timing, and Technology: A GIS-Based Analysis of Pennsylvania’s Iron Industry, 1825-1875,” with Richard G. Healey (2006). Journal of Economic History 66(3): 608-34.

“‘The white hands ‘damn them . . . won’t stick’: Labor Scarcity and Spatial Discipline in the Antebellum Iron Industry” (2006). Journal of Historical Geography 32(1): 57-73.

Emerging Trends in Historical GIS (2005), edited by Knowles. Thematic issue of Historical Geography 33.

“Wheeling Iron and the Welsh: A Geographical Reading of ‘Life in the Iron Mills’” (2002). In Transnational West Virginia: Ethnic Work Communities during the Industrial Era, Ronald Lewis and Kenneth Fones-Wolf, eds., 216-41. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press.

“Labor, Race, and Technology in the Confederate Iron Industry” (2001). Technology and Culture 42(1): 1-26.

Historical GIS: The Spatial Turn in Social Science History (2000), edited by Knowles. Thematic issue of Social Science History 24:3.

“Migration, Nationalism, and the Construction of Welsh Identity” (1999). In Nested Identities, Guntram Herb and David Kaplan, eds., 289-315. Boulder, Col.: Rowman & Littlefield.

“Immigrant Trajectories through the Rural-Industrial Transition in Wales and the United States, 1795-1850” (1995). Annals of the Association of American Geographers 85(2): 246-66.

For a full CV, please contact me at anne.knowles@umit.maine.edu.