‘Counter-Mapping’ the Amazon

Samuel Fritz, “The Marañon or Amazon River with the Mission of the Society of Jesus,” 1707. Map, 31×39 cm. National Library of Brazil. Wikimedia Commons.

The Conversation has a piece on how indigenous peoples in the Amazon are using “counter-mapping” to reclaim not only their ancestral lands, but as a way to counter the colonial process of mapmaking itself.

Maps have always been part of the imposition of power over colonised peoples. While map-making might be thought of as “objective”, it is fundamentally political, a necessary part of controlling a territory. Maps inscribe borders, which are then used to include some and exclude others.

During a late 19th-century rubber boom, Amazonia became increasingly well mapped out as the young nations of Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia vied for territorial control. The rights and interests of Amazonian peoples were never included in this process and they would be continually denied rights, recognition and citizenship from these nations until the 1980s and 1990s. Even following legal recognition, their territorial rights—critical for their continued existence—are still often ignored in practice.

These marginalised people are now working together to reclaim the process of mapping itself. In the central Brazilian Amazon there has been a recent flurry of “counter-mapping”, used by forest peoples to contest the very state maps that initially failed to recognise their ancestral territorial rights.

[via]

Boston Immigration Map Exhibition

Along with Regions and Seasons (previously), the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center is hosting another exhibition, Who We Are: Boston Immigration Then and Now, which runs until 26 August. “This exhibition compares the landscape of today’s ‘new’ Boston with that of over 100 years ago. The maps and graphics on display here show where Boston’s foreign-born residents originate from, and where newer immigrant groups have settled, while celebrating who we are, and the vibrant diversity that is Boston.” Text is in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Mapping Canadian Census Data

Statistics Canada released population and dwelling data from the 2016 Census yesterday. MountainMath’s CensusMapper project already has interactive maps based on that data: population change since 2011 (absolute and percentage), population density, and unoccupied dwellings—with presumably more to come, since the interface allows you to make your own census-derived maps.

The Divisions of Post-Reunification Germany

The Washington Post
The Washington Post

Decades after German reunification, there are still stark differences between the former West and East Germany, and every so often those differences are explored and examined. Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of reunification, for which the Washington Post saw fit to dust off and update a 2014 analysis. There are lots of maps, exploring everything from employment to flu vaccination to camper trailer ownership, but all but one date seem to be from that earlier version. This Post piece draws heavily on a 2014 article from Die Zeit (in English), which has even more interesting maps (with a rather funky design).

Mapping Same-Sex Marriage in America

The New York Times
The New York Times

The number of same-sex marriages in the United States is not directly tracked. But a new Treasury Department research paper has been able to come up with a count of same-sex marriages by looking at jointly filed tax returns; the New York Times story is accompanied by a nice interactive map of such marriages by zip code. [MAPS-L]

People and Places

people-and-places Coming next month from Policy Press, the third edition of People and Places: A 21st-Century Atlas of the U.K. by Danny Dorling and Bethan Thomas. The Independent has a long profile of the book, which makes extensive use of cartograms to illustrate data about the British population, and one of its co-authors, Oxford geography professor Danny Dorling. Pre-order at Amazon (direct Amazon U.K. link—it’s more likely to be in stock there). [via]