Engaging Geography in the Humanities

Engaging Geography in the Humanities is a three-week Summer Institute to be held at Northeastern University from July 6 – 24, 2020. The Institute will explore the possibilities and productive tensions at the intersection of geography and the humanities. By engaging with readings, lectures, discussions, workshops, and field visits, the Institute will introduce scholars teaching in the humanities (and related disciplines) to concepts and methods from geography, as participants consider how these approaches can enhance their own research and teaching.

The poet Walt Whitman writes that in the urban environment we see “the past, the future, dwelling there, like space, inseparable together.”  Inspired by this idea, the Institute will use Boston as our classroom to explore the layered nature of space and place, as well as how Boston and the region have served as setting and inspiration for a range of philosophical and literary works. At the same time, the geographic perspectives and spatial methods developed here will help participants engage more deeply with their immediate surrounds, as well as distant locations.

Through a series of workshops, the Institute will introduce participants to the emerging field of digital humanities and some of its possibilities for spatial representation and analysis. Participants will be exposed to digital projects and receive hands-on training on tools such as 3D modeling, web mapping, and Geographical Information System (GIS). In addition to providing practical skills, sessions and workshops will critically examine the meanings of maps and uses of digital technology in humanistic inquiries.

Meanwhile, the Institute will build on Northeastern’s commitment to public humanities and the experiential liberal arts to facilitate more public facing engagements through popular writing, digital media, and memorialization and public history projects.