Open the City is a literary mapping project that charts the narrative of Teju Cole’s novel Open City, through the use of maps, artifacts, and photographs. Drawing on the concept of the palimpsest—a document written over many times that reveals traces of its past incarnations—the project analyzes the city’s overlapping economic, social, and political legacies in four historic epochs. Open the City looks at New York’s general history, as well as the impact of colonization, race, and trauma on the city. The original instantiation of the project, a 250-page composition with author-designed images and text, is currently being converted into an interactive website through the aid of Yale’s Digital Humanities Lab. For the pilot launch, the project team is focusing on the historic period of New Amsterdam.
Open the City was awarded Yale Digital Humanities Lab Software Development Grants to create a platform for exploring New York’s geographic and social history.
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