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Urban Humanities and Humanist Mapping

Authors: Jonathan Jae-an Crisman*, University of Arizona
Topics: Cartography, Urban Geography
Keywords: urban humanities, humanist mapping, critical cartography
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper will present urban humanities as a proto-field at the intersection of the humanities and urban-spatial fields including architecture, urban planning, and geography. By combining the cultural, historical, and embodied emphases from the humanities with the spatial, empirical, and projective practices from the urban-spatial fields, new practices can emerge from urban humanities around exploring, documenting, analyzing, and speculating about urban space. Humanist mapping, in particular, will be presented as one such practice, drawing on a range of theoretical frameworks, including linguistic landscapes, spatial ethnography, critical cartography, thick mapping, speculative fiction, theories of the everyday and embodiment, and artistic research. Three examples will be presented as demonstration tests of this emergent practice, including mapping experiments in Spanish-speaking Los Angeles, along the US-Mexico border, and in Mexico City. Language, in particular, is found to be a critical element that can be more deeply explored through humanist mapping in comparison to conventional or even critical forms of cartography. Furthermore, these tests demonstrate new potentials for humanizing scholarly forms of representation and furthering emergent participatory mapping goals.

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