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The Image of Maps/Maps of the Imagination

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JB Krygier

JB Krygier

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The Image of Maps/Maps of the Imagination

Call For Papers: A One Day Conference, at the Ashmolean Museum,
University of Oxford, 13 May 2006

Hosted by the Department of the History of Art at Oxford University

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 mapping 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 encyclopaedic 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 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

Some possible topics include, but are not restricted to:

-Maps as evidence of intellectual history
-The relationship between reading maps and reading texts
-The relationship between maps and art: painted map cycles, can paintings
be read as maps?
-Mapping the mind and body: the relationship between medicine and maps
-Tourism and travel: Maps as an index to cultural consumption
-Conflicting world views and the creation of maps (ie: Renaissance vs.
Classical geography)

Please submit 300 word proposals for 30 minute papers by 12 January 2006 to:

please also visit our website: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ball2144/

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