A Data-Driven Analysis of Cemeteries and Social Reform in Paris, 1804–1924

by Kaylee Alexander

This book takes a novel, data-driven approach to the cemeteries of Paris, analyzing a largely text-based body of archival material as proxy evidence for visual material that has been lost due to systematic, and legally sanctioned, acts of erasure.

This study represents the first full-length study of vernacular monuments in France and the entrepreneurs who made them. It also provides methodical considerations, at the intersection of the computational and digital humanities for managing survival biases in extant historical evidence, that are applicable beyond the thematic focus of this book. Since extant examples of these more inconspicuous monuments are rare, this project employs both distant and close viewing—analyzing commercial almanacs, work logs, and burial records in aggregates alongside detailed case studies—to compensate for gaps in the material record.

The book will be of interest to scholars working in visual culture, popular culture, digital humanities, and French history.