Reading-in-Place and Thick Mapping the Venice Ghetto at 500

  • Amanda K. Sharick
  • Erica G. Smeltzer
  • Katharine G. Trostel


This chapter reorients traditional literary analysis toward interpreting and representing the spatial, social, and historical origins of texts informed by the legacy of the Venice Ghetto. Using ArcGIS Story Maps to create ‘thick’ digital maps, we emphasize the Ghetto’s layers of significance. This site-based approach to memory work is a close-reading of architectural space, infused with the affective traces of the past and present. Our interactive maps make our reading practices visible and engage the multidirectional movement of the historical, literary, and contemporary memories of ghetto spaces through what we term a process of reading-in-place; we visually represent the trauma, nostalgia, memorials, and histories that are encoded on the pages of literary narratives.



The authors would like to thank UC Santa Cruz Emeritus Professor Murray Baumgarten, Shaul Bassi (founder of Beit Venezia: A Home for Jewish Culture), and all of the participants in our early career scholar workshop ‘The Ghetto of Venice: The Future of Memory in the Digital Age’ held in the space of the Venice Ghetto (July 2016) for inspiring, supporting, and adding to this dynamic conversation. You can learn more about our work and find links to our mapping projects at


The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Jewish Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz; the Institute for Humanities Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz; Beit Venezia: A Home for Jewish Culture; and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to travel to Venice , Italy, to undertake the research for this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda K. Sharick
    • 1
  • Erica G. Smeltzer
    • 2
  • Katharine G. Trostel
    • 3
  1. 1.University of California RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.BASIS International School ShenzhenShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Ursuline CollegePepper PikeUSA

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