Counter (Mapping) Actions: Mapping as Militant Research


  • Counter Cartographies Collective
  • Craig Dalton Department of Geography University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Liz Mason-Deese Department of Geography University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


counter-mapping, autonomous cartography, alternative practices, militant research, 3C


We, the Counter Cartographies Collective (3Cs), propose a specific form of counter-mapping, autonomous cartography, to understand and intervene in the processes at our university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As autonomous, militant research, this mapping aims to foster cooperation among researchers and participants to practically intervene in real problems without attempting to marshal state or administrative power. Our experience shows that autonomous cartography helps produce new, alternative practices, knowledges and subjects at our university and others. Even as we draw on critical cartography and other cases of counter-mapping, autonomous cartography constitutes a distinct form of counter-mapping through our combination of autonomous theory, militant research and mapping. In this paper, we explore constitutive influences on 3Cs and our own militant countermapping experiences. We begin with a review of the theoretical basis of autonomous cartography as a form of critical cartography and counter-mapping. Next, we introduce the key concepts and practices of autonomous politics and militant research through the examples of Colectivo Situaciones, Precarias a la Deriva and Hackitectura. In the second half of the paper, we review 3Cs’ founding conditions and two of our maps. Finally, we conclude by examining the methods and impacts of our mappings.


How to Cite

Collective, C. C., Dalton, C., & Mason-Deese, L. (2015). Counter (Mapping) Actions: Mapping as Militant Research. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 11(3), 439–466. Retrieved from