[CfP] GIScience 2021 workshop: Three cultures

Because of Covid, GIScience 2020 has been postponed to 2021. We will communicate the new deadline for this workshop as soon as possible.

GIScience 2020 2021 Workshop

The social, the science and the humanities: Bridging three cultures of geographic information in the pandemic

Workshop date & location: September 15, 2020 — Poznań, Poland

Submission deadline: 29 May 2020

Main conference: GIScience 2021

Web: https://sdesabbata.github.io/bridging-cultures-giscience-2020


Covid-19 update: This edition of the workshop will focus on the value of interdisciplinary interactions in this time of crisis. In epidemiology and public health, there is a crucial geospatial dimension to model and manage human interactions. While these crucial efforts tend to rely on quantitative spatial thinking, what is the role of the qualitative social sciences and the humanities in countering the pandemic?

A decade ago, psychologist Jerome Kagan argued that three incompatible research cultures exist in academia: the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities (Kagan, 2009). From its inception, GIScience has been porous, inter-disciplinary and multi-paradigm, mingling with other communities (Blaschke & Merschdorf, 2014). However, most research in GIScience comfortably situates itself with the natural and quantitative social sciences. Interactions with the more qualitative social sciences are limited, and often tense, as the critical GIS debates demonstrate (Sui & DeLyser, 2012). Substantive GIScience work in the humanities is limited to historical GIS (Roberts et al., 2014).

This workshop aims to provide the opportunity to explore, showcase and engage with research practices and projects that link GIScience to the social sciences and the humanities. The discussion will be articulated along three core concerns. (1) In what ways are GIScientists working across qualitative and quantitative realms with social scientists, and humanists? What are the scientific, epistemic, ethical, and practical implications of these interactions? Is GIScience a meta-science that can reduce friction between different disciplines? (2) How can GIScientists engage more effectively with interdisciplinary teams that involve social scientists and humanists? What are promising strategies to conduct not only “respectable”, but high-impact GIScience research in the context of those collaborations? (3) How should GIScience position itself in the broader academic landscape with respect to non-STEM disciplines, not just in scientific terms, but also regarding funding and publication strategy?

We encourage submissions from researchers who engage with or have an interest in disciplines such as human geography, history, economics, linguistics, archaeology, public health, sociology, media studies, and political science. More specifically, the topics include (but are not limited to):

  • GIScience for social sciences
  • Spatial digital humanities
  • Spatial social media and social research
  • Information geography and digital geography
  • Spatial media studies, cultural analytics 
  • Information studies, science & technology studies
  • Qualitative GIS and critical GIS

Instructions for Authors

Please submit an extended abstract of no more than 1000 words excluding references (no more than 3 A4 pages) for 15-minute presentations on EasyChair by Friday 29th May 2020, 5pm (GMT): https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=bridgingculturesgisc 


  • Dr Stefano De Sabbata, University of Leicester
  • Dr Andrea Ballatore, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr Zoe Gardner, University of Leicester

Contact:  a.ballatore[at]bbk.ac.uk


Brown, G., Strickland-Munro, J., Kobryn, H., & Moore, S. A. (2017). Mixed methods participatory GIS: An evaluation of the validity of qualitative and quantitative mapping methods. Applied geography, 79, 153-166.

Roberts, L., Thevenin, T., et al. (2014). Toward spatial humanities: Historical GIS and spatial history.  Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Kagan, J. (2009). The three cultures: Natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities in the 21st century. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Sui, D., & DeLyser, D. (2012). Crossing the qualitative-quantitative chasm I: Hybrid geographies, the spatial turn, and volunteered geographic information (VGI). Progress in Human Geography, 36(1), 111-124.