Canceled – Niall Atkinson to Deliver Annual Pamela H. Simpson Lecture Atkinson will speak on “Where I am is Who I am: Plotting Spatial Demographics in Renaissance Florence.”
PLEASE NOTE: This talk has been rescheduled for March 24
Niall Atkinson, associate professor of art history at the University of Chicago, will deliver the Pamela H. Simpson Lecture in Art History on March 24 at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
Atkinson will speak on “Where I am is Who I am: Plotting Spatial Demographics in Renaissance Florence.”
Atkinson’s teaching and scholarship focus on public space, urban history, soundscapes, geography and travel, as well as the architecture and urbanism of late Medieval and Renaissance Italy. His research examines the relationship among sound, space and architecture and their role in the construction of pre-modern urban societies. His current work explores digital visualizations of early modern urban soundscapes through Geographic Information System technology, as well as the visual and sonic cultures of the Indian Ocean. He is also embarking on a project on spatial disorientation in the accounts of Italian travelers and its relationship to the experience and symbolic meaning of urban environments in pre-modern Europe.
Atkinson will also bring two members of his digital humanities team to lecture, teach two classes and conduct intensive digital humanities workshops with Professor George Bent’s Florence As It Was group at W&L. Atkinson and his IT partners have created a simple polygon model of the old city’s central core that was demolished completely in the 1880s. W&L has digital photographs of 19th-century paintings of those buildings. The two groups will map those paintings onto the University of Chicago’s models to create a visual approximation of that key area as it used to look.
“It’s fitting that Niall Atkinson, an innovative architectural historian who thinks deeply and creatively about spaces and the way people use them, comes to W&L as the Pamela Simpson speaker,” said Bent. “Simpson’s dedication to the examination of precisely the same subjects made her an influential member of her field and inspired generations of students to follow in her footsteps. Atkinson’s brilliant employment of reams of material in the Florentine Archives will be a fundamental source of data for historians of the Italian early modern period and has already captured the imaginations of future specialists who understand the power of digital humanities. Atkinson’s concepts, methods and applications will drive the thinking of students and scholars from a wide array of disciplines for years to come.”
The Pamela H. Simpson Endowment for Art, established in 2011, is a permanently endowed fund to support the hosting of distinguished academics and professional visitors to campus to work directly with students and faculty in Washington and Lee’s Department of Art and Art History.
Simpson served on the faculty of Washington and Lee University for 38 years. She was the first female tenure-track professor at W&L and the first female professor to receive an endowed chair.