I plan to organize a session on “digital natures” at next year’s ESEH meeting in Munich, to explore the places where the digital and the natural meet. Find the full CFP below the image.

Aram Bartholl, “Map”, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bartholl/3385796780/

Digital natures
I am looking for participants for a session examining the intersection between digital technologies and the use and management of nature at the European Society for European History biannual meeting in Munich, August 20-24, 2013. Aligning with the conference theme of “Circulating Natures,” the session will explore how knowledge and ideas of nature in general and places in particular circulate between digital representations, public discourses, and bodily experiences of being in nature. I can mention a few possible topics: How have GIS technologies transformed the management of natural areas? How are digital maps used in trekking and nature tourism? Can digital art increase awareness of environmental issues? How have nature experiences and environmental concerns been translated into computer games?

The session takes as its starting point that the act of representing nature in text, in images, in maps, in geospatial data, or other media, is one of authorship, of exercising definitional power over the world. Our perception and experience of a place is shaped as much by the available information as it is by the place itself. This mediation of nature is of course nothing new, but has it changed with digitization? The shape and influence of digital natures, however, cannot be taken for granted. How do users and producers negotiate over the meaning of digital technologies in natural spaces? And over the meaning of natural spaces in digital technologies?

My own paper will explore what the knowledge of space and place means in the age of GPS, ubiquitous geospatially-aware devices, and pervasive digital mapping through a case study of GPS-assisted hunting in Scandinavia.

Anyone interested in participating should contact Finn Arne Jørgensen at finn.jorgensen@idehist.umu.se no later than September 15, 2012.

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