Travelers’ Lab is a research hub housed at Wesleyan University designed as a point of collaboration for scholars 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. A few medieval travelers — William of Rubruck, Benjamin of Tudela, Marco Polo — gained fame both in their own time and in ours by covering vast distances on audacious voyages. Events like the crusades moved whole armies large distances and created huge changes in strategies of communication. These high profile events still capture the imagination. However, the Travelers’ Lab is especially interested in the more mundane transfer of messages and objects – letters, receipts, seals, edicts, and others.
The Travelers’ Lab combines primary source work with GIS and statistical techniques, as well as modern concepts of communications such as social network analysis. Descriptions of the ongoing projects of the current members of the lab are available under the tab “Research Projects.” We also seek to bring our work and our techniques into the classroom, and in fact many of our projects were first developed in courses. Descriptions of courses and our project-based pedagogical ideas are available under “Courses and Pedagogy.” Anyone interested in the work of the lab — whether with general inquiries, or specific requests concerning collaboration and participation — is encouraged to contact one of the Lab members directly.