An Introduction to Critical Cartography
Keywords:critical cartography, cartography, mapping practices
AbstractThis paper provides a brief introduction to critical cartography. We define critical cartography as a one-two punch of new mapping practices and theoretical critique. Critical cartography challenges academic cartography by linking geographic knowledge with power, and thus is political. Although contemporary critical cartography rose to prominence in the 1990s, we argue that it can only be understood in the historical context of the development of the cartographic discipline more generally. We sketch some of the history of this development, and show that critiques have continually accompanied the discipline. In the post-war period cartography underwent a significant solidification as a science, while at the same time other mapping practices (particularly artistic experimentation with spatial representation) were occurring. Coupled with the resurgence of theoretical critiques during the 1990s, these developments serve to question the relevance of the discipline of cartography at a time when mapping is increasingly prevalent and vital.
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