Talk by Professor Kuhn: Spatial information in academia – inflating or infiltrating disciplines ?

Professor Werner Kuhn from the Center for Spatial Studies, Department of Geograhy, University of California, Santa Barbara will be visiting The University of Melbourne from 20th of March to 14th of April and will be giving a talk on 31st of March at 1:15 pm. in the Engineering Block C, C1 theatre. Make sure you come by and say hi.

For more information about Werner see his homepage.

Talk Title: Spatial information in academia – inflating or infiltrating disciplines ?

Talk Abstract. A quarter century after the coining of the labels Spatial Information Science (in 1990) and Geographic Information Science (in 1992), a remarkable number of professorships, degrees, conferences, and journals worldwide carry these or similar names. Together with a rejuvenated discipline of geography, a dynamic spatial information technology sector, and an increasing public awareness for the value of location-based perspectives, these indicators suggest the birth and maturation of a successful discipline. At the same time, a plethora of related but supposedly different disciplines get promoted with some success, ranging from Geomatics and Geoinformatics to Geospatial Data Science. Apart from the fact that a continued compartmentalization and relabeling may not improve our chances for academic survival, the more important question is whether continued intellectual growth is more likely to result from cultivating an academic niche or from influencing and reshaping the methodologies of established disciplines. In this presentation, I will explore the idea that infiltrating the sciences, social sciences, and humanities will remain more sustainable and intellectually rewarding than inflating the number of disciplines. Using biology, economics, and literary studies as examples, I will claim that spatial information has a brighter academic past and future within and between established disciplines, rather than as a discipline of its own. Meanwhile, information science at large remains our most natural intellectual home base, allowing for capacity building.