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Faculty, students, and staff from the University of Washington joined a broad range of participants from near and far at the UW Friday Harbor Laboratories from October 17th to 20th, 2014, for a conference dedicated to ‘Revisiting Critical GIS’.
In the words of the organizers, who included UW Geography’s Dr. Luke Bergmann and Dr. Sarah Elwood, the rapid development and dissemination of digital geospatial technologies, datasets, and practices raise questions about how various arguments of ‘critical GIS’ remain as relevant as ever, require rejuvenation, or have run their course. Drawing in part on such developments, but also on enthusiasm for the digital humanities and on new materialist and even speculative realist currents of thought within social and cultural theory, the prospects for a renewed engagement between critical human and quantitative geographies appears more hopeful today than they have for some time.
The forum blended collectively planned and organically emergent sessions, providing a venue within which participants thought through the above issues collaboratively, emerging with fresh ideas and perspectives to bring to research and teaching. The discussions were quite productive, leading to plans for a wide range of academic publications and future discussions in other venues.The event was sponsored by the Department of Geography at UW, the Department of Geography at the University of California – Berkeley, by the Urban Studies Program at the University of Washington – Tacoma, by the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Victoria, and by several individual researchers within those units.