Maps on the Front Lines: Moving from Counter Cartographies to Resistance Mapping

Authors: Carl Sack*, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Topics: Cartography
Keywords: cartography, feminist cartography, critical cartography, counter-cartography, socialist geography
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


For decades, critical geographers and cartographers have engaged with map-based empowerment efforts under headings such as Public Participation GIS, Feminist GIS, Participatory Mapping, and Counter-Mapping. Running through all of these related variants is a common thread of empowering the disempowered. With these efforts, professional mappers bring their services to bear on partner communities’ knowledge communication, spatial archiving, community development, resource protection, movement expression, and conflict resolution goals. The practices they entail provide an important foundation from which conscientious geographers can engage with the current political and environmental climate. The stresses and conflicts facing racial minorities, migrants, the Indigenous, women, youth, working people, and by extension most of humanity, seem to be gaining new urgency as the Earth’s climate and economic systems run amok. So too should our critical mapping practices evolve. This paper will seek a more confrontational extension of cartographic practice that I call resistance mapping. It aims its contribution to the conversation around feminist cartographic intervention at the question of what it might mean to map back against extractive neocolonialism on Indigenous lands, against attacks on women’s bodily autonomy, against migrant concentration camps, against mass suicide, against killer cops, against debt slavery, and against climate change armageddon.

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