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The Spatial Turn in History: Implications for Curriculum in Higher Education


The Spatial Turn in History: Implications for Curriculum in Higher Education

Narayana, Manasvini (2019) The Spatial Turn in History: Implications for Curriculum in Higher Education. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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The emergence of visualization and spatialization technologies, such as digital maps, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and data visualization is generating new ways of knowing within academic disciplines. This epistemological shift, or “spatial turn,” like the Quantitative or Cultural Turns before it, impacts the ways in which knowledge is created, consumed, and communicated. New jobs that require spatial skills are coming into being. It is reasonable to expect, therefore, that education in general, and curricula in particular, would respond to this shift. This thesis explores the curricular responses to spatial ways of knowing in higher education, using the case of one academic discipline–History. The dissertation investigates through a case study, five inter-related aspects of the spatial turn in History: The creation and communication of History knowledge through spatial means, work and employment of History graduates with spatial skills, teaching and learning in higher education with respect to spatial ways of knowing, tools and technologies that drive the spatial turn, and the perspectives of History professors and students with respect to spatial ways of knowing. I explore each aspect separately and use them to triangulate my findings, before synthesizing them into conclusions.

The findings indicate spatial ways of knowing are still a niche area in History as far as creating History knowledge is concerned. In addition, spatial History is decidedly interdisciplinary, and scholars and the professional community take a variety of approaches to navigate this interdisciplinarity. Several career opportunities exist both within and outside academia for the spatially oriented Historian, but this is not a factor that traditional History departments consider when determining curricula. However, a wide range of online learning resources are available with respect to spatial ways of knowing, should students wish to pursue this line of learning in addition to their regular History education. Geo-spatial and visual-spatial tools present their own set of challenges to Historians, and I analyze how they contribute to the complexity of teaching spatial ways of knowing. I conclude that although spatial ways of knowing offer History some unique possibilities for generating knowledge, the curricular response to them is mixed. I offer some recommendations for possible ways in which History higher education curricula may respond to the spatial turn.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Narayana, Manasvini
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:1 November 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):Shaw, Steven and Venkatesh, Vivek
Keywords:Spatial Turn, Spatial History, spatial ways of knowing, spatial thinking, Higher Education, Curriculum, spatial technologies,
ID Code:986198
Deposited By: Manasvini Narayana
Deposited On:25 Jun 2020 17:56
Last Modified:25 Jun 2020 17:56
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