Tag Archives: Cartography

CFP: Art and its Directions (Perth, 6-8 Dec 17)

logo-AAANZ-Con-20175b35dPerth, University of Western Australia, December 6 – 08, 2017
Deadline: May 22, 2017

The Conference Committee would like to invite proposals for panel sessions for the AAANZ 2017 Conference in Perth.

The deadline for session proposals is COB Monday 22 May 2017. Please see the submission instructions below. All enquiries to conf@aaanz.info.


This year’s conference theme Art and its Directions is broadly conceived against the backdrop of debates relating to national sovereignty and globalisation. Rather than purely a focus on politically based art in this context, we turn to the question of
directions in art, where directions refer both to geography and chronology. The aim is to investigate artistic production and exchange in relation to the geographical, conceptual and imaginative relationships between north, south, east and west, so as to encompass
discussion of transnational and global art histories; and the binaries of centre and periphery, modern and traditional. The theme takes account of the conference location in Western Australia – ranging from perceptions of the west to its distinct collections, and history.

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New Publications: Body-Worlds: Opicinus de Canistris and the Medieval Cartographic Imagination

st_186Body-WorldsOpicinus de Canistris and the Medieval Cartographic Imagination 

Author: K. Whittington

Brepols Publishers

In 1334, an Italian priest named Opicinus de Canistris fell ill and experienced a divine vision of continents and oceans transformed into human figures, a vision which inspired numerous drawings. While they relate closely to contemporary maps and seacharts, religious iconography, medical illustration, and cosmological diagrams, Opicinus’s drawings cannot be assimilated to any of these categories. In their beautiful strangeness they complicate many of our assumptions about medieval visual culture, and spark lines of inquiry into the interplay of religion and science, the practice of experimentation, the operations of allegory in the fourteenth century, and ultimately into the status of representation itself.


“Karl Whittington’s Body-Worlds brings Opicinus de Canistris’ idiosyncratic drawings out of the purely personal, mentally disturbed world to which they have generally been consigned into a more normative and accessible realm. To unlock their forms and meanings, Whittington persuasively compares the odd renderings to portolan charts used in marine navigation, which he sees as foundational to Opicinus’s project. And, building on the work of Michael Camille and Victoria Morse, he subjects the drawings to a sensitive analysis that never flattens these indisputably eccentric works but, in the end, enhances their innovative nature even while rendering it understandable.”

– Herbert L. Kessler, Johns Hopkins University

“Opicinus’s drawings contribute in new and unexpected ways to our understanding of the late medieval church, the history of vision and sensibilities, the body, the history of cartography, and Mediterranean studies. Karl Whittington is an intelligent reader of these very difficult works and a wonderful guide for readers encountering this material for the first time. His book will open up an important and under-utilized corpus for further study and should spark an on-going conversation about these intriguing manuscripts.”

– Victoria Morse, Carleton College

“In Body-Worlds, Karl Whittington has produced a magisterial study of the enigmatic drawings of Opicinus de Canistris. Focusing on a key grouping within the larger corpus of images, he examines some two dozen illustrations that superimpose human bodies on the form of the earth, its seas, and its continents. Two questions guide his task: why would this late medieval thinker adapt a diagrammatic form based on current understanding of cartography; and why turn this image into a system for analyzing broad theological and philosophical questions of the day? Although some scholars believe that Opicinus suffered from a form of physical and mental disorder, and that the drawings reflect a disturbed state of mind, Whittington’s complex study indicates otherwise. Whittington does justice to the rich multivalent nature of these drawings, showing us how Opicinus understood the relationship between the body and cosmos, as well as how sexuality and gender worked as important conceptual tools in his visionary system.”

– Catherine Harding, University of Victoria

Upcoming Event: London Medieval Society Meeting- Forging Ahead (November 14, 2015)

scan0006The first London Medieval Society Colloquium of the new academic year welcomes Dr Alfred Hiatt as the Society’s new President. To celebrate the program explores themes central to his research: – Medieval Forgeries, Medieval Maps, Places and Spaces

Speakers are:

Catherine Delano-Smith on understanding medieval maps;

Leonie Hicks on medieval voyaging;

Marianne O’Doherty on medieval ideas of the Indian Ocean;

Yossef Rapoport on Islamic cartography;and

Lawrence Warner on medieval forgers and Piers Plowman

Members attend free; non-members are also very welcome to attend. Please see website for membership details – you may pay your temporary or annual membership on the day (£10/5 concessions per colloquia: it is £20/10 for annual membership: there are three events each year).

The event will be held in the beautiful Charterhouse Square (nearest Tube: Barbican)

Saturday, 14 November 2015 from 11:00 to 18:00 
Lecture Theatre – Joseph Rotblat Building, Charterhouse Square. London EC1M 6BQ GB – View Map

Ristow Prize in the History of Cartography

This Prize, offered annually by the Washington Map Society since 1994, recognizes academic achievement in the History of Cartography and honors the late Dr. Walter W. Ristow, former chief of the Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress.

US $ 1000 cash award, a one-year membership in the Washington Map Society, and publication of the paper in The Portolan – Journal of the Washington Map Society. Honorable Mention may be awarded to an additional paper or papers at the judges’ discretion.

Full or part-time undergraduate, graduate, and first-year postdoctoral students attending accredited colleges and universities anywhere in the world.

The competition seeks research papers in the field of the history of cartograph, completed in fulfilment of coursework requirements. All papers must be in English, documented in a style selected by the author, and not in excess of 7500 words. Inclusion of clear graphics supporting the paper is encouraged. Papers entered for the Ristow Prize may have been previously presented at academic symposia or entered in other competitions. They must not, however, have been published, selected for publication, or be in consideration for publication at the time of entry.

Four unbound copies of the paper, each with a title page and cover sheet including the entrant’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, institution, department, and academic status.

1) importance of research (e.g., originality, sources used); 2) quality of research (e.g., accuracy, source reliability); 3) writing quality (e.g., clarity, organization, and command of cartographic terms).

Postmarked no later than 1 June 2014, and mailed to Evelyn Edson, Ristow Prize Chair, 268 Springtree Lane, Scottsville VA 24590-9511, USA.

FURTHER INFORMATION is available at www.washingtonmpasociety.org or contact eedson@pvcc.edu

Call for Papers: Cartography between Europe and the Islamic World 1100 – 1600 (London 2014)

Call for Papers
Cartography between Europe and the Islamic World 1100 – 1600
London, Queen Mary, University of London, September 8-9, 2014
Deadline: 21 February 2014

cfp_cartographyThe Leverhulme Network ‘Cartography between Europe and the Islamic World’ aims to promote comparative, cross-disciplinary scholarship on Islamic and European cartography by bringing together experts in these two fields for a two-day symposium to be held at Queen Mary, University of London, on September 8-9, 2014. Participants are invited to explore moments of contact between traditions (e.g. twelfth-century Spain; the court of Roger II of Sicily; fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian cartography; Piri Reis and post-Columban cartography of the early sixteenth century) as well as differences and divergences. Reflections on the methodology of the comparative study of maps are also welcome.

Papers may wish to address some of the following topics, but need not be restricted to them:

  • the contexts – material, political, spiritual, artistic – of mapmaking in Europe and the Islamic world
  • audiences for maps; ‘cartographic literacy’
  • interactions between European and Islamic mapmaking: exchange, influence, borrowing
  • reception of classical texts, e.g. Ptolemy’s Geographia/Jugrafiya
  • patronage
  • the cartography of al-Idrisi
  • nautical mapmaking in the Mediterranean
  • cartography in the Ottoman empire (up to c. 1600)
  • comparative histories of cartography

Please send proposals consisting of an abstract of c. 300-500 words for 20-minute papers to Matthew Champion (m.s.champion@qmul.ac.uk) by February 21, 2014. Proposals are encouraged from doctoral students, early-career and established scholars, and travel and accommodation for speakers will be funded.

On behalf of the conference convenors:
Alfred Hiatt (a.hiatt@qmul.ac.uk)
Jerry Brotton (j.r.brotton@qmul.ac.uk)
Yossi Rapoport (y.rapoport@qmul.ac.uk)