11.1.13: Mapping and its Discontents

Is a map a mirror, a window, a weapon, or a work of art?

Schedule | Speaker Bios | Exhibit: See-Through Maps | Attendee MapsPress Coverage | Videos

From lines drawn in clay to geographic information systems (GIS), humans for millenia have constructed an understanding of the world through visual representations of space. At this interdisciplinary symposium, mapmakers, users, and critics from the worlds of science, urban planning, architecture, history, and new media examined the ways maps work.

"Mapping and Its Discontents" was part of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, a major 3.5-year project supported by the Mellon Foundation. In this joint project, the College of Environmental Design and the Division of Arts & Humanities are collaborating to bring together scholars and practitioners across disciplines to investigate humans and the environments they inhabit and shape.

Image courtesy Spatial Information Design Lab, GSAPP, Columbia University.

Speaker Lineup:

• Eve Blau, Architectural Historian, Harvard Graduate School of Design
• Jon Christensen, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
• Zephyr Frank, Stanford Spatial History Project
• Robin Grossinger, Historical Ecology Program Manager, San Francisco Estuary Institute
• Katharine Harmon, The Map as Art, You Are Here
• Annette Kim, Director, MIT SLAB
• Laura Kurgan, Director, Spatial Information Design Lab, Columbia University
• Rebecca Solnit, Author, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas
• Denis Wood, Geographer, Everything Sings, The Power of Maps

For more information on this symposium's speakers, see the Speaker Bio page.

Mapping and Its Discontents was presented in partnership with the David Brower Center.