Homesteading the Plains: A Short Analysis

Screen capture of the homepage banner of the project.

Is the story we know from a public school’s history textbook everything there is to know about homesteading in the United States? We can guess the answer to be no, but the Homesteading the Plains project (linked) and associated book do the research to complexify our understanding of the relationships between, identities of, and work by the people whose lives were in interaction with homesteading.

As for networks, Homesteading the Plains represents the relationships between homesteading communities by presenting people (homesteaders and witnesses) as nodes and edges as the sociolegal relationship formed by witnessing as a practice of homesteading. Together, larger networks form that define the complex communities formed by people who worked together to succeed on the homestead. Where possible, the presented networks also show location of individuals, which clarifies how proximity defined these homesteading neighborhoods.

Clearer answers:

What do the nodes and edges represent? Nodes: People (homesteaders and witnesses); Edges: Sociolegal relationships (between homesteaders and witnesses)

What interactions does the project allow? Recorded relationships between witnesses and homesteaders allow for the simulation of neighborhood building based on the connections between a number of people, with proximity defining boundaries for both the people of the time (according to data) and the networks.

Please note: All images and information are taken from the Homesteading the Plains website, linked above.

Thanks for reading! -Kelly_H


One Comment

  1. I wonder what the graph would look like if the edges were weighted by distance, or another factor that could be implemented in the graph.

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