Dr. Ben Mangrum's article, "The Ecologies of Data Visualization" will be published in diacritics, issue 48.4. Founded in 1971, diacritics is a major journal focusing on critical theory, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. This article represents work by Dr. Mangrum bringing the techniques of the environmental humanities to bear on what might seem one of the least humanistic enterprises: the visualization of data in our information culture. You can find the issue here

Dr. Mangrum's essay evaluates visualization practices in data science and the digital humanities by drawing on the resources of the environmental humanities. Mangrum shows how certain conceptions of ecology and natural systems have provided constitutive metaphors in the design and theorization of data visualization practices. This genealogy of the visual culture of data science began with the professionalization of graph theory in the nineteenth century. Ecological analogies were also a prominent feature in twentieth-century computer and network design, and they have continued to inform many of the layout algorithms that generate present-day data visualizations. This history of ideas and practices shows how ecological metaphors have naturalized information systems in ways that obscure the material and social realities of those systems.