For Fall Quarter 2020–2021, the Center for Spatial Studies will host a series of virtual spatial events under the theme:

Knowledge Representation and GeoHumanities

This series of spatial events will study the impact of Knowledge Representation and GIScience in the Geospatial Turn of Humanities.


Humanities stands for the academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. Although intertwined by definition, the true power of interdisciplinary research in humanities was witnessed with the intersection of digital technologies. Computing led to the development of Digital Humanities (DH) providing not only the tools to digitize phenomena but also revolutionized the methodological focus of the comprising disciplines in the lines of knowledge representation, moving from descriptive representations reflecting individual perspectives to evidence-based, interconnected knowledge structures. Ontologies enhanced DH with the ability to formalize and reason with information about human phenomena. The interoperability afforded by ontologies enabled the exchange of information between systems, as well as enrichment with knowledge from various scientific fields which would seem near impossible in the past.

Humanities have a long tradition of investigating the analysis of place and space. The need for experimentation and the challenge of describing changes in human and social life without considering the impact of the involved spatial components led to the GeoSpatial Turn of Humanities. GeoHumanities allow the exploration of spatial methods and technologies in collaboration with Geographic Information Science opening new pathways of experimental research in the theoretical gulfs of Humanities. Fusing mixed theoretical methods with knowledge representation guidelines and modern spatial technologies enables a holistic approach to the study of place and space. Spatial studies can aid humanities to describe complex elusive phenomena by leveraging the special nature of spatial information and adopting methods and tools in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) that are already being used for critical reflection. GIScience, on the other hand, and GIS tools can be introduced and adjusted to subaltern understandings and conceptions of space that go beyond traditional cartographic paradigms, such as imaginary or vague places, as well as, complexities of time.

We aim to communicate interdisciplinary ideas, methods, and technologies about the exciting topic of GeoHumanities. The sessions will focus on a variety of challenges related to the knowledge representation of phenomena starting with the fundamental question, “what happens where?” In addition, it will explore ways to inform and transform spatial studies in order to embrace broader perspectives of space and place that are not bound to existing models or technologies.

The Knowledge Representation and Geohumanities speaker series is a joint effort of the Center for Spatial Studies and the NSF-funded KnowWhereGraph project.

Access and Participation

Please contact Karen Doehner ( or Rui Zhu ( if you would like to share your research in this series of events, in order to review and schedule possible topics.

If you would like to attend the event, please register here. Please note that upon registration you can attend any of the events using the same access link that will be sent to you.


September 17, 2020Martin DoerrInstitute of Computer Science
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas
ThinkSpatial: Identifiable Individuals and Reality
What Do We Describe and Why?
October 13, 2020Nicola GuarinoInstitute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the
Italian National Research Council
ThinkSpatial: Events and their (spatial) context: on the semantics of locative modifiers
October 21, 2020 Yingjie HuUniversity of BuffaloSpatialTech: Advancing spatial and textual analysis with GeoAI
October 27, 2020Karl GrossnerUniversity of Pittsburgh World History CenterThinkSpatial: Representing Place for World Historical Gazetteer.
November 10, 2020Seila Gonzalez EstrechaMichigan State UniversitySpatialTech: A knowledge representation in WikiBase of people, events and places in the historical slave trade
November 17, 2020Bruno MartinsUniversity of LisbonSpatialTech: Challenges in resolving place names over text.
November 24, 2020Patricia Murrieta-FloresLancaster UniversityThinkSpatial: Subaltern Spatial Thinking: Towards a decolonial approach to spatial technologies.
Series: Knowledge Representation and GeoHumanities