“Oh, study history. Next time you’ll be a teacher, right?”
“It must be so difficult and boring to memorise dates and years.”
“Did you study history because you didn’t know what else to study?”
History majors like me face a number of stereotypes. In addition to the examples above, many think of us as bookworms, obsessed about the past, antiquated, and tech-averse (all not totally inaccurate).
Data visualisation, on the other hand, is often perceived to fall under the high-tech domain of science, programming, analytics, business intelligence, and so on.
So what am I, a history major, doing in data visualisation?
There is a tendency to view history as a qualitative field of study — this is largely true. Still, many skills used in the historical field are pretty universal and, as we’ll see, also highly applicable to the field of data visualisation.