To ask for a map is to say, “Tell me a story.”
Peter Turchi, The Writer as Cartographer
Doom 2, E1M1, by Leek, posted at Mapstalia
Every map has its own story to tell. . . . Imagine an atlas with a structure ordered to tell a story greater than those told by each individual map, an atlas with something more clearly on its mind than keeping the maps off the floor.
Denis Wood, Everything Sings
Mental maps, however cognitively housed, are socially constructed. They are a particular form of ‘imagined geography’ that illustrate the complex relationships between the social and the spatial. . . . Mapping, then, in in all od its overlapping forms, contributes to geographic rhetorics by insisting upon the real and imagined production of space and more complex ways of representing places and spaces.
Nedra Reynolds, Geographies of Writing
HIV Prevalence by Worldmapper
For this assignment, you are going to create geographical stories by putting together a collection of maps of a particular local space. You have two options for this project:
- Compose a series of 5 – 7 maps of a particular local space in the vein of those composed by Denis Wood of Boylan Heights that tell a particular story of that space. The collection of maps (or atlas) will be accompanied by an 1 page double spaced introduction in which you discuss the goals of your project and a 2 – 3 page double spaced interpretation of the maps in terms of our readings on mapping and semiotics.
- Compose a memory map of a particular local place and then ask 8 – 12 people to do the same (you must compose yours first and do not show the people your map; nor should people be in the same place when composing theirs; have a diverse population; do not use students in this class). The collection of maps (or atlas) will be accompanied by a 1 page double spaced introduction and a 3 – 5 page double spaced interpretation of the maps in terms of our readings on mapping and semiotics.
When thinking about a particular local setting, think in terms of various physical and virtual spaces. Local can mean a house or apartment, or Bozorth Hall, or the 4th floor of the library, or Rowan University, or World of Warcraft. If multiple people in the class choose the same space (say, Rowan University) it will be fascinating to see how the maps are similar and different (and we might see how we could combine them for the sake of the project).
If you are doing option 2, please be sure to record the person’s name and contact information, and let them know that their work is part of a class project and the maps will be posted online (anonymously, if they would like). Come up with titles for the maps, as well.
Presenting Your Work
We will be turning in the work via Issuu.com, “the leading digital publishing platform delivering exceptional reading experiences of magazines, catalogs, and newspapers.” Issue takes individual pages and merges them together into a seamless magazine style publication:
[issuu width=420 height=272 shareMenuEnabled=false printButtonEnabled=false backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=080507164112-41a2111766544b799099f8d619016b8f name=notartistpreview username=nitsa tag=art unit=px id=4197c338-328d-c5fe-e8d0-53f928c87872 v=2]
Your final project should have an appealing cover page, your introduction, the maps, and the analysis. On the day your drafts are due we will go over tips for putting together your atlas.
2/2: tweet your mapping project proposal using only 1 tweet and leaving room for #vrmcs12 and #mproj
2/9: rough draft due by class time (this includes all maps and the introductory text)
2/23: final draft due as an Issue publication by 11:00pm (compose a blog post that includes an excerpt of your introduction and one or maps in the collection and link to your Issuu publication—it is not possible to embed the publication in a WordPress.com blog)