The Traveler’s Lab is a multi-campus international research hub housed at Wesleyan University. It is a network of scholars and students designed as a point of collaboration for those curious about the movement of information (news, messages, knowledge) and the people and networks that carried them around the world before the advent of industrial travel. In addition to famous individual travelers, mass migrations, or armed campaigns, the Traveler’s Lab is especially interested in the more mundane transfer of quotidian messages and objects such as edicts, coins, seals, letters, receipts, and the pockets that carried them.
For descriptions of the core projects of the Traveler’s Lab network see Established Projects.
For startup ideas and research trials see Nascent Projects.
Our Research Blog hosts in-process write-ups of both projects and (when we remember!) meetings and conference appearances.
We welcome connections and comments. All are welcome to send general inquiries, or specific requests concerning collaboration and participation directly to one of the faculty members of the Traveler’s Lab network.
The research projects in the Traveler’s Lab constantly use the sorts of tools and methods humanists now label ‘digital’–ArcGIS, text analysis, network analysis, data visualization, etc.–but we do not restrict ourselves to this categorization. The Traveler’s Lab applies whatever tools of analysis we can find for generating innovative research hypotheses from exacting source work. We were established in partnership with Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center, are supported by WesGIS, and can honestly describe ourselves as a digital humanities lab. However, neither the method nor the output of a Traveler’s Lab project need necessarily be ‘digital’ to fall within our purview. What unites us and excites our shared curiosity is a shared interest in an expansive understanding of ‘travel’ and commitment to whatever techniques can help us translate analysis into new ways of seeing the traces of the past.