Mapping Difficult Stories I

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Cartography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Chairman's Boardroom, Omni, East
Organizers: Sebastien Caquard, Anne Knowles
Chairs: Sebastien Caquard


In this session we are interested in exploring new forms of spatial expression designed to visualize stories that are difficult to tell: stories of individual and mass violence, stories of containment and forced displacements, stories of painful memories and tragedies. Mapping such stories can serve different purposes. It can contribute to a better understanding of personal and collective experiences, of the socio-political forces that have shaped them and of the relationships that individuals and communities have developed with places throughout these difficult moments. Mapping difficult stories can also make these experiences more tangible and accessible to a broader audience.
Mapping difficult stories requires us to revisit and expand our cartographic language. Stories in general do not land particularly well on maps. While stories are spatial, they are also fluid; their geographies fluctuate, change shape and scale, as can their context and the individual who bears them. Whether expressed in interviews, memoirs, diaries, or letters, the elusive geographies of stories don’t easily mesh with the rigid Euclidean structure of the conventional map, and the transformation of difficult memories into abstract cartographic symbols generates ethical and methodological issues that mapmakers must engage. Building on the growing interest in mapping experience among scholars, artists and cartographers in across the arts and humanities, this session aims to bring together a broad range of individuals interested in sharing their efforts to find spatial forms of expression for difficult stories.

If you are interested in joining this session please send an abstract (no more than 250 words) to Anne Knowles (, and Sébastien Caquard ( by October 25.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Anne Knowles*, University of Maine, I Was There: Places of Experience in the Holocaust 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Piera Rossetto*, University of Graz _ Centre for Jewish Studies, Mapping memories, charting empathy 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Renee Louis*, Institute of Policy and Social Research, Pua Case, Mauna Kea Education and Awareness, Kūkulu Hāmākua : reimagining cartographic expressions in the battle over Maunakea 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Elise Olmedo*, Mucem - Museum of European and Mediterranean civilizations, Vizualizing and exhibiting the professional stories of Romani people in Marseille, France 20 9:00 AM
Discussant Meghan Kelly University of Wisconsin–Madison 20 9:20 AM

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