The objectives of the interdisciplinary research project Topos and Topography: Rome as the Guidebook City are to trace the origins and developments of the guidebook genre, with focus on the city of Rome; to define the elements, functions and strategies that shape the identities of the author, the traveler and the place, and to discuss the impact of the guidebooks through history on the modern guidebook of today and its role in cultural meetings and exchange in Europe. These objectives will be attained by studying a wide range of material, not limited to pre-modern and modern guidebooks, but also including antique and medieval material such as geographical maps, pilgrim itineraries, liturgical guides, and inscriptions, and thus provide new knowledge and open a totally new field of study. Methodologically and theoretically, the project will broaden scientific horizons by crossing borders between fields such as literature, architecture, art history, philology and cartography. By working interdisciplinarily, the project will be able to shed light upon the subject from various aspects and benefit from a manifold theory basis.
Topos and Topography is funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond) and runs from 2013 to 2015. It is administratively based at The Swedish Institute in Rome. Two annual workshops are planned. The project is centered on individual research projects, ending with the Topos and Topography conference in Rome in 2015. The project involves seven senior scholars: project leader Dr. Anna Holst Blennow, Gothenburg University; Dr. Sabrina Norlander Eliasson, Swedish Institute in Rome/ Stockholm University; Dr. Frederick Whitling, Swedish Institute in Rome; Dr. Anna Bortolozzi, National Museum Stockholm; Dr. Stefano Fogelberg Rota, Stockholm University; Dr. Carina Burman, Stockholm; Dr. Victor Plahte Tschudi, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design.
Michael Rowlands, Professor in anthropology, University College, London
Anders Cullhed, Professor in comparative literature, Stockholm University
Chloe Chard, Independent scholar, London
Claes Gejrot, Editor-in-chief, Swedish National Archive
Bengt Lewan, Professor in comparative literature, Lund University
Simon Malmberg, Asssistant Professor in classical archaeology, Bergen University