Critically Engaging in Virtual Geographies

Organizer: Blake Hawkins, iSchool, UBC

Geographers are expanding the scope of their interests in relation to different technologies. However, this trend has caused some philosophical debate in the translation of information. Kinsley (2014) discussed how many geographers have had been challenged by the spatial characteristics of digital mediation. It involves an ontology which regards virtual geographies as liminal spaces between the screen and body, data, and machine. Furthermore, scholarship has been concerned about the frictionless immateriality of virtual spaces.

The purpose of this session is to critically engage in the virtual and digital geographies which go beyond this frictionless binary. Papers of interest will provide methodological, theoretical, and/or critical reflection reading virtual geography. These papers can cover a variety of themes and can include but aren't limited to the following topics:

  • Open access, digital locks (TPMs), and control of knowledge
  • The usage of digital spaces for social discourse (i.e, Idle No More; It Gets Better Project; etc)
  • Virtual health geography
  • Critical GIS
  • Digital storytelling
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Digital research methods in geographical research
  • Big Data
  • Digital discourse

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to Blake Hawkins ( by February 15 2015.

Work Cited: Kinsley, S. (2014). The matter of ‘virtual’ geographies. Progress in Human Geography 28: 364