What is the Spatial Turn?

“Landscape turns” and “spatial turns” are referred to throughout the academic disciplines, often with reference to GIS and the neogeography revolution that puts mapping within the grasp of every high-school student. By “turning” we propose a backwards glance at the reasons why travelers from so many disciplines came to be here, fixated upon landscape, together.

For the broader questions of landscape – worldview, palimpsest, the commons and community, panopticism and territoriality — are older than GIS, their stories rooted in the foundations of the modern disciplines. These terms have their origin in a historic conversation about land use and agency.

Read the Introduction.

About the Author

Image of Jo Guidi

Dr. Jo Guldi was invited by the Scholars' Lab to contribute a framing narrative and research structure for this Spatial Humanities site. She is an historian at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History at the University of Chicago, as well as a fellow of the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship. Her book, Roads to Power (Harvard 2011), describes how Britain invented infrastructure and strangers stopped speaking on the public street. Jo is currently working on a history of capitalism and its relationship to land use that will focus upon the international land reform movement of the nineteenth century.