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Department of Geography

Workshop series topology project

Martin Tomko, Katharina Pelzelmayer, Timothy Raeymaekers, Elisabeth Militz

The InnoPool project on topology explores the ways topology is interpreted in different geographic subfields. In addition, the project aims at exploring the possibility of integrating these interpretations into a framework that enables cross-disciplinary collaboration. Research questions:

  • How are different conceptualisations of topology used across geography?
  • Is a common understanding of topology for interdisciplinary research possible and what form could such research take?

The project organized three inspiring seminar sessions, featuring presentations from fascinating and internationally renowned scholars in the field: Prof Anna SecorProf John Allen, Prof Anthony Cohn.



24 Sep 2015: Colloquium with Prof Anthony G Cohn

Anthony Cohn holds a Personal Chair at the University of Leeds where he is Professor of Automated Reasoning and Director of the Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Biological Systems.

Prof Cohn gave a research talk providing an overview of the application of topology in qualitative spatial reasoning research. Qualitative spatial reasoning (QSR) focuses on the formalisation and reasoning about the qualitative spatial relationships, directions, and events. Prof Cohn introduced applications of QSR in the automation of the understanding and generation of spatial language, such as descriptions of spatial scenes and video sequences.

The talk has been well attended by 17 members of GIUZ, from 4 distinct units/groups. It has been followed by a small workshop discussion, mostly focusing on the application of QSR to language understanding and interpretation.



14 May 2015: Colloquium with Prof John Allen

Prof Allen is Professor of Economic Geography and Deputy Chair of the University’s Research Committee at the Open Unversity (UK).

On 14 May, Prof Allen gave a research talk focusing on the application of topology in political gegraphy, and drawing examples from finance and investment bankers, NGOs and social movements, states and border controls.

The talk, which was attended by around 15 members from 4 distinct GIUZ units, was followed by a small workshop, which focused on different perspectves in human geography and GIS science.



23 March 2015: Colloquium with Prof Anna Secor

(in cooperation with GRC project "Conceptualising & Applying Topology")

Anna Secor is Professor of Geography and Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Islamic Studies Professor at the University of Kentucky, Lexington (USA)

On 23 March Prof Secor gave a research talk on conceptualisations of topology in philosophy, psychoanalysis and human geography. Discussing Agamben's and Zizek's topological accounts of the Möbius strip and the problematic dualism of topology and topography within geography as a discipline, she took up Lacan's and Deleuze's understandings of topology to reveal potentials of topological thinking for post-structural ideas about space.

Her talk was followed by an afternoon-long workshop, which allowed participants to further engage with potentials, challenges and limits of topological conceptualisations. The workshop ended with a roundtable discussion, involving Prof. Anna Secor and Prof Ross Purves (GIUZ) that aimed at identifying commonalities and variations of topological understandings in human geography and GIS science.