Dismantling Borders' Toxic Discourses and Colonial Cultural Records

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2019-11-13
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Abstract
While cartography is a colonialist product when unrepresented individuals or communities utilize and recreate these tools they serve to contest a colonial cultural record. With respect to U.S.-Mexico borderlands, toxic discourses have continuously altered its history, social dynamics, culture, local and binational relationships. This presentation brings to the forefront initiatives that create alternative cartographies that challenge colonialist impositions such as: Borderlands Archives Cartography (BAC), a transborderlands project dedicated to locate, map and facilitate access to nineteenth and mid-twentieth century U.S.-Mexico borderlands newspapers; and Torn Apart / Separados, a mobilized humanities project that intervenes in the United States’ immigration debates with data narratives illuminating the effects of the government’s policy of separating families and the infrastructure subtending immigration enforcement. These initiatives use GIS tools to interpret data and archival material in new ways, enabling to see patterns otherwise invisible in static maps. BAC and Torn Apart digital maps and visualizations pose new questions contest established narratives, creates alternative forms of mapping and activate a knowledge production shaped from the ground-up. With this in mind, these alternative cartographies function as a historical and cultural record of the present and become resources to resist impositions in the future.
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GIS, cartography, post-colonial, mapping, activism
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Presentation