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GeoHumanities Centre


RHUL to launch a new Centre for the GeoHumanities

The RHUL Centre for the GeoHumanities is a major initiative linking arts and humanities scholars and practitioners, geographers and the creative, cultural and heritage sectors. It will showcase and foster work with an arts and humanities orientation on issues that have a strong geographical resonance: such as space, place, landscape and environment.

The Centre will launch with an event on the 16th June 2016 6-9pm, that will inaugurate a new lecture series, the Denis Cosgrove Lecture in the GeoHumanities. Denis Cosgrove was a Professor at RHUL from 1994 to 2000, before moving to UCLA, and he played a central role in founding the MA (as its first Director) and in orienting RHUL Geography to the arts and humanities. The event will also celebrate the 20th birthday of the MA Cultural Geography (Research).

The inaugural lecture will be given by will be given by Professor Jerry Brotton, School of English and Drama, QMUL. The title of the lecture: 'This Orient Isle: The Cultural Geography of Elizabethan England and the Islamic World'. 

If you want to register for the event please register here.


Diogo Homem's map of the Mediterranean from the Queen Mary Atlas (1558)

The GeoHumanities is an umbrella term that has emerged internationally over the last 2-3 years to signal the growing interdisciplinary engagement between Geography and arts and humanities disciplines. It incorporates other designated developments such as the 'environmental humanities', the 'spatial humanities' and the 'urban humanities'. In essence, the term indicates how scholarship on key geographical concerns such as space, place, landscape and environment is advanced across arts and humanities disciplines.

The recognition of the GeoHumanities has been driven by recent developments in theory (e.g. the 'spatial' and 'mobilities' turns; the idea of the anthropocene), politics (e.g. the increasing urgency of environmental issues, or questions of territory, borders and displacement), data (e.g. the embrace of geo-coded data and Geographic Information Systems [GIS]) and practice (e.g. in site specific performance art or the creative use of locative media). However, the GeoHumanities also stem from a much longer intellectual history, being rooted in the pre-disciplinary origins of Geography and its 'earth writing'. Geography has never been the exclusive preserve of Geographers and has always sat uneasily across modern disciplinary divisions. It is therefore unsurprising that the GeoHumanities has emerged as a key field in our current interdisciplinary intellectual culture.

The Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities will focus in particular on five cross-cutting interdisciplinary themes:

  • The Environmental GeoHumanities, encompassing arts and humanities scholarship on environment, nature and environmental change, environmental histories; 
  • The Creative GeoHumanities, encompassing practice-based arts research engaging themes of place, space, landscape and environment; 
  • The Spatial GeoHumanities, encompassing arts and humanities research on our imaginative geographies, urban spaces, spatial connections and mobilities, past and present;
  • The Digital GeoHumanities, encompassing the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geo-coded data and digital mapping within arts and humanities scholarship;
  • The Public GeoHumanities, encompassing in particular the place-based and spatial understandings of the cultural, creative and heritage sectors and community and participatory work.

For further information please contact the directors Phil Crang and Harriet Hawkins on GeoHumanities@rhul.ac.uk



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