A one day conference, 13 May 2006, at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, hosted by the Department of the History of Art.
This is a call for papers for a conference that intends to bring together historians of all periods and locations who use 'maps' as an important source for their research. By 'maps' we mean both maps of 'real' space, such as world maps, as well as maps of 'unreal' space, such as mental maps. The purpose of our conference is to investigate the similarities and differences between these two types of maps - those that are real and imaginary - at different point in history.
In recent years, in the fields of historical cultural studies, there has been growing interest in the multi-faceted concept of mapping. Specifically, the evidence of maps gives researchers valuable information on a wide range of questions that are pertinent to those studying the history of science, art and visual culture, intellectual history, and so on. This one-day symposium aims to address the concept of mapping in two distinct but related ways. The first is concerned for the physical product of the map and its histories. Historically, the creation of maps has been at the intersection of a broad spectrum of issues that include the relationship between art and science, the philosophy of space, cultural and political geographies, among many others. In this way, maps are cultural products which express the beliefs of those who created them, and as such are an index to ideas that are not expressed in other extant texts. Second, this symposium aims to address the concept of mappings as a means of creating structures that are not limited to the organization of space, but which rather use the metaphor of mapping as a means to organize the world. The process of creating mental maps is one example of this, and it can also be argued that, historically, people have used the metaphor of mapping as a means of organizing encyclopedic knowledge, aiding memory, meditation, and other forms of invention. Therefore, we may ask ‘historically, what has been the relationship between these imaginary maps, those which organize concepts and ideas into an imagined space, and those ‘actual’ maps which seek to make the physical space of the world into a single image?’
This symposium is being co-ordinated by doctoral students in Art History, Steven Stowell and Tania Woloshyn, at the University of Oxford and the University of Nottingham, respectively, and as such, seeks to bring together graduate students and young and experienced academics who are using either the concept or the evidence of maps to enlighten their historical research. We intend for this event to be a way of sharing our methodology, research, and addressing some of the problems of using maps as historical evidence.
Please submit proposals for 30 minute papers by 12 January 2006 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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