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Thursday, October 12 • 9:00am - 10:20am
Social Theory | Théorie sociale

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The Map-making Game | Le jeu de la création de cartes
Presenter: Mark Denil, sui generis 
One can think of map making as a game; that is, one of the general class of learned cultural sequences that are culturally determined and characterized by: Roles, Rules, Goals, Rituals, Language, and Values. Of course, cultural stability is maintained by preventing people from seeing any part of society (such as map making) as game structures, and cultural institutions enforce the delusion that games have inevitable givens, involving unchangeable laws and conventions. Thus, while it is seldom advisable to directly or openly challenge the game structures, it can be enlightening to learn to recognize and study them. This talk will explore some strategies and tactics for exposing the game structures underlying the map making activity, and to demonstrate the value of engaging it in this way. It should provide a practical, pragmatic framework for cartographic practice.

Canada, the United States, and Fish: Drawing the Lines | Le Canada, les États-Unis et les poissons : tracer la ligne

Presenter: John Cloud, NOAA Central Library
The neighbors of Canada and the United States are each other, and fish (and, for the United States: Mexico and more fish). The conceptual boundaries of the two countries encode the consequences of imperial wars centuries ago, and the continuing impositions of much upon Indian tribes and First Nations across the continent of North America. The actualizations of the boundary segments have changed and evolved with every human generation since the early 19th century, utilizing the latest and highest level technologies in geopositioning and cartography. The US Coast Survey, now NOAA, has played a major role in defining and mapping the boundaries from the American side since the middle of the 19th century. The lines are both abstractions, and artifacts of very human stories, arcing more towards cooperation between disparate peoples than not. The vast cartographic archives of the Coast Survey reveal much more than the lines separating two nations. 

Humanizing Maps | Humaniser les cartes
Presenter: Meghan Kelly, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Copresenters: Nick Lally, Robert Roth, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Maps have the power to make people legible, knowable, and governable in particular ways while simultaneously erasing certain bodies, identities, and multiplicities. Bringing the hidden assumptions and power relations that underlie mapmaking to the forefront, feminist approaches to mapmaking and data visualization examine who is visible and how they are made visible. This paper draws on critical issues of representation, examining how interactive maps can deploy symbolization and map design techniques that reveal the visibility of people in different ways; increase critical engagement with the map; and develop empathetic connections with those who are made visible. We examine these issues through a critical visual analysis of existing maps and through a user survey of 120 participants using MapStudy—an interactive web mapping survey tool developed in the University of Wisconsin Cartography Lab. Drawing from our findings, we offer some suggestions for how we might humanize maps through design.


Leo Dillon

Office of the Geographer, U.S. Department of State


John Cloud

NOAA Central Library
avatar for Mark Denil

Mark Denil

sui generis
avatar for Meghan Kelly

Meghan Kelly

PhD student and freelancer, UW-Madison

Thursday October 12, 2017 9:00am - 10:20am EDT
Salons 6 & 7, Level 3