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A “feminist toolkit” for mapping farmed animal sanctuary

Authors: Heather Rosenfeld*, Tufts University
Topics: Cartography, Animal Geographies, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: feminist mapping, animal geographies, feminist geography, cartooning, visual storytelling
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Queer theorist and self-proclaimed feminist killjoy Sara Ahmed (2017) suggests that a feminist toolkit is a matter of feminist survival. For Ahmed, “survival” is not about individualized keeping-on or neoliberal self-care, but a way of doing and continuing to do feminist work. Ahmed keenly recognizes that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” (Lorde 1984), and thus turns to nontraditional tools or queering tools.


Following Ahmed, I developed a feminist toolkit in the process of mapping farmed animal sanctuaries. In this paper, I discuss this toolkit and what it helped me to build. I begin by braiding methods together to balance proximity and distance in research and analysis. In this vein, I use situational and positional mapping, developed in science and technology studies (Clarke 2003), alongside cartographic mapping. Cartographically, I develop unique symbols to challenge ableist implications of homogeneity and standard bodies, use an East-up rather than North-up orientation, and make uncertainties and gaps in the data visible, rather than attempting to hide them. Throughout, I use a critical politics of citation in terms of who I cite – building a different canon that deliberately includes certain works and excludes others – and how I cite – noting that citation is a matter of following ideas and taking inspiration in addition to mentioning names. I conclude by reflecting on the mobility and limits of this toolkit, explaining how certain tools in it are more broadly applicable, but that it is not meant to be universal.

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