Geography Colloquium "Should GIS Sing? The Promise and Peril of Mapping Music History"

02/01/2019 - 3:30pm
CB 334
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Louis Epstein

Maps have long punctuated musicological texts, but only recently have music historians begun to leverage maps as tools for analysing, organizing, and presenting research. In part inspired by the ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities at large, historical musicologists are now paying greater attention to the geographical contexts in which past performances took place. And the increasing accessibility of web-based GIS platforms makes it possible to visualize and analyze music historical trends across time and place with greater ease than ever before.

Yet such work - at the intersection of spatial history and the digital humanities - still faces significant challenges. The most widely accessible GIS tools fail to reconcile tensions between the spatial and temporal. They struggle to visualize premodern, non-Cartesian conceptions of space, or smoothly incorporate qualitative as well as quantitative data - especially sound and visual media.

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