Spatial History and Its Sources

Spatial History and Its Sources

Institute for Transnational & Spatial History, University of St Andrews
St Andrews
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
02.09.2016 -
Riccardo Bavaj

This workshop brings historians together with a selection of sources that can help us explore the field of Spatial History. Spatial History can be understood in multiple ways: First, there is the historical exploration of physical-geographical realities, including cities, mountains, rivers, and oceans. Second, there is the historical exploration of spaces that are constituted by social relations and human interaction, including travelling, letter writing and any other form of social communication (acts of violence included). Third, there is the historical exploration of spaces that are imagined and discursively constructed, including mental maps and infrastructure plans. Needless to say, of course, that these three modes of historical exploration may all be employed in regard to a given subject: A mountain range, a landscape, or architectural site are as much a physical reality as they are an imagined space. The Alps are a physical reality – one that can be measured and gauged; as a lived and appropriated space, however, they can mean different things to different people: to local dwellers, travellers, painters, or mountaineers. Likewise, a ship is as much a physical space as it is a social space: a microcosm of social norms and codes of conduct, with a specific language attached to it as a vehicle of knowledge and means of communication. Considering these issues through the materials we work with, this workshop is the first step towards a new volume around “Spatial History and Its Sources”, to be published in the series "Routledge Guides to Using Historical Sources".


Introduction (Bernhard Struck, Konrad Lawson, Riccardo Bavaj)
Ships (Sarah Easterby-Smith & Matt Ylitalo, St Andrews)
The Sea (Michael Talbot, Greenwich)
Rivers (Mark Harris, St Andrews)
Landscapes (James Koranyi, Durham)

12:30-13:30: Lunch

Mountains (Dawn Hollis, St Andrews)
Travel (Jordan Girardin, St Andrews)
Maps (Bernhard Struck, St Andrews)
Architecture (Lukasz Stanek, Manchester)
Ghettos/Camps (Tim Cole, Bristol)

16:00-16:30: Coffee

Concluding discussion (Konrad Lawson)


Riccardo Bavaj

University of St Andrews
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