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Edward Curtis' Social Network
Page 5 of Curtis' Image and Life
David J. Kim, UCLA[Visualization 6: Group Attributes Layout by Node Type in Cytoscape]This visualization groups nodes in the dataset by "node types" that we applied to categorize the persons, collective entities and events. The distance between the nodes in this visualization does not reflect any analysis of the entity's level of influence or connectedness. The colors of the nodes have been manually selected and they are simply to distinguish different types. From the size of the circles formed by these groups, however, we can estimate the frequency of the node types mentioned in the dataset. It also tells us what might be missing from our data collection: perhaps more research into Curtis' patrons or even combine the categories of "patrons" and "entrepreneurs." For now, the "entrepreneurs" (J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Edward Harriman and Henry Huntington) are somewhat arbitrarily distinguished from the "patrons" by prominence.[Visualization 7: Group Attributes + Betweenness Centrality in Cytoscape][Visualization 8: Neighborhood Connectivity in Cytoscape]Next, we wanted to see connectivity across the groups that we assigned by types. As one can see from the edges in the previous two visualizations, the nodes forming these groups not only interact within the group but also with the nodes in other groups. Perhaps there are also groups formed by the edges, not only by the group types that we assigned in our data. "Neighborhood Connectivity," is a quantitative approach for assessing such connectivity, which in this case replaces the circles initially formed by node types with "neighborhoods." In this visualization, we see that the "neighborhoods" are made up of many different types of nodes.[Visualization 9: Neighborhood Connectivity, Zoom in "Harriman Expedition"]In this example from the "neighborhood connectivity" visualization, one can see how the Harriman Expedition (1899) brought Edward Curtis in contact with a number prominent figures of his time: John Muir, the famous naturalist; Frederick Coville, the Chief Botanist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Grover Gilbert, a geologist. Other figures connected to Curtis through the Harriman Expedition, such as Edward Harriman and George Grinnell, who later organized the first Audobon Society and served as the editor of Forest and Stream, played important supportive roles in the development of The North American Indian, both financially and politically.While these visualizations do not offer a definitive identification of the entities that can be said to have the most influence within Edward Curtis' social network, they do provide a helpful graphical accompaniment to our basic understanding that The North American Indian was not simply a benevolent, scholarly pursuit of a single photographer. It was also a business venture and an outlet for the interests of various stakeholders, reflective of the broader socio-political and academic investments in the documentation and the preservation the Native American cultural heritage, a part of the "archiving culture" of the early 20th-century. It is perhaps difficult to determine such factors of influence or centrality in any analysis of social networks, though there are many measures to approximate them. For example, the quantitative significance of Theodore Roosevelt, who is directly connected to Edward Curtis in our dataset through correspondence and through the contribution of the foreword to The North American Indian, should perhaps include edges to every single node in our dataset, defined as "[Theodore Roosevelt] ["head of the state for"] [any target]." However, how would such data-ization of Theodore Roosevelt's connectivity overdetermine the role of the state and of the influence of a single prominent figure? Even as we offer this experiment with data visualization as a possible pedagogic tool and approach to contextualize Edward Curtis' work, we acknowledge and emphasize the fact of its status as a representation of a particular set of interpretations based on a single primary source.
15. The text of the full of document can be found in Mick Gidley, Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, Incorporated (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 44.↩ 16. Ann Laura Stoler, Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 20.↩ 17. ibid.↩