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The 2018-19 Tech and Text series on “Maps and Mapmaking” acknowledges the institutional use of the traditional unceded territories of the Three Fires Peoples - the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi. We commit to creating a space where we can collectively begin to challenge the representations and continuing impacts of colonial mapmaking. This series is conceived as a discussion group to explore the technologies and texts of mapping our histories and everyday cultures.

We will meet every other Friday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm in Clark Library Instructional Space (2 South Hatcher). Meetings are open to everyone, at any skill level, and from any disciplinary background. It is not necessary to attend all meetings; please join us as you have time and interest. The text discussions will include a brief introduction to assigned readings. Tech explorations will be an open format for experimentation and shared learning (please bring a laptop). If you have any questions about the series you can contact Justin Joque (, Anne Cong-Huyen (, or Kush Patel (

The schedule for Fall 2017 is available here and the schedule for Fall 2016 is available here.

Participation in this series can count towards the practice-oriented requirement of LSA Digital Studies Graduate Certificate. For more information on the certificate program, please visit the following website:

Participation in this working group can also help participants develop content for a digital portfolio or related artefacts towards the Requirement ‘J’ of the CRLT Graduate Teacher Plus Certificate in Digital Media (GTC+). For more information about the teaching certificate, please visit:

Participant Learning Goals:

  • Develop familiarity and comfort with mapping tools and critical methods.
  • Find and build community around anti-colonial critiques and uses of mapmaking.
  • Explore pedagogical methods that integrate the texts and technologies of representing data

Fall_2018 Schedule:

The bimonthly schedule will alternate between tech explorations and text-based discussions. PDFs and web-based links of all readings are available. Please register by filling out this form and we will give you access to download items that are not publicly available.

September 14, Tech: Representing Spatial Data in Databases

Finding, reading, doing stuff with data, shapefiles, .csv, JSON

September 28, Text: Digital Mapping and its Antecedents

Short excerpt from Tufte, Edward, and P. Graves-Morris. “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.; 1983.” (2014).

Pickles, John. “Representations in an electronic age: Geography, GIS, and democracy.” Guilford Press, 1995.

Ahmet, T. Karamustafa. “Introduction to Islamic maps’.” Harley and Woodward, The History of Cartography, Volume Two, Book Two, 5.

October 12, Tech: Social Explorer

Census Data Sets and representation

October 26, Text: Counter-Mapping

Dee Morris and Stephen Voyce, “William Bunge, The Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute (DGEI), & Radical Cartography,” Jacket 2 (March 20, 2015)

Deborah Cowen and Nemoy Lewis, “Anti-Blackness and Urban Geopolitical Economy,” Society + Space (August 2, 2016)

November 9, Tech: QGIS - Joining Tables to Geography using QGIS

download and install QGIS prior to the meeting

November 23, Thanksgiving Recess


December 7, Tech and Text: Reflections and Sharing