Disability Anthropology Working Group / Events

Critical Cartographies: (Re)Imagining Socio-Spatial Relationships

The Ethnography Lab team invites you to our final speaker event of the year as part of our Ethnography Lab 2018/2019 Speaker Series: ‘Ethnographic Experiments’ 

“Critical Cartographies: (Re)Imagining Socio-Spatial Relationships with Jeff Hackett, Hannah Quinn and Logan Quinn
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 (please note the change of day)
Location: The Ethnography Lab (Anthropology Building, 19 Russell St., Room 330)
Time: 6:00-8:00pm

This is the final event of the “Ethnographic Experiments” Speaker Series hosted by the Ethnography Lab. More information about the speaker series can be found at https://ethnographylab.ca

Join Jeff and Hannah at this interdisciplinary event as they chat about geospatial technologies and sketch-mapping as participatory methods. Jeff will bring his background and expertise in human geography and counter-mapping, while Hannah will be presenting some preliminary findings from her pilot research conducted between June and August 2018. Drawing on insights from counter-mapping, Hannah worked with one of her cognitively disabled interlocutors (her very cool brother Logan) to explore how map-making might be used as a participatory and arts-based research method. Logan will also be joining us to share and explain his maps!

Bio: Jeff Hackett is a settler-scholar and participatory mapping & geospatial capacity building specialist at The Firelight Group. He works with Indigenous Nations to support participatory, counter-mapping practices on large-scale resource development projects. He has an M.Env in Environmental Assessment from Concordia University and a M.Phil in International Peace Studies. He is a member of the Google Earth Outreach Trainer Network and Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives.

Bio: Hannah Quinn is a Ph.D. student in socio-cultural anthropology and sexual diversity studies at UofT. Working with cognitively disabled adults, Hannah’s research focuses on the disproportionate levels of sexual regulation experienced by adults with disabilities, particularly as it relates to their intimate and sexual lives. Methodologically, she is invested in developing and practicing experimental and sensory ethnographic methods in an effort to meaningfully engage with interlocutors who are minimally- and non-verbal.

Background: The convergence of Indigenous Peoples and Western cartography is historically situated within the metanarratives of settler-colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. While maps have characteristically resulted in the displacement and dispossession of Indigenous land and resources, Indigenous peoples have increasingly employed “counter-maps” to (re)imagine alternative Indigenous geographies. Indigenous counter-mapping is, in its broadest sense, the appropriation of the hegemonic cartographic method and manner of representation to counter colonial and imperial regimes. In this sense, Indigenous counter-maps have become a site of resistance, where Indigenous Peoples ‘unsettle’and‘decolonize’colonial and neocolonial realities. Jeff asks: How can counter-mapping approaches support to displace maps as ideologically laden artifacts that reflect a socially constructed world? Jeff will present his ongoing counter-mapping work with Indigenous Nations that seek to radically rethink and reimagine cartography as an emergent praxis that embodies a visual palimpsest of fragmented histories and bodies.

Hannah uses map-making as an entry point to think about the material places and spaces where social relationships are embedded; to locate the infrastructures that are involved in relational life, inclusion, and exclusion—particularly for cognitively disabled adults. Presumptions of incapacity and incomprehensibility have led to the exclusion of cognitively disabled people from contributing to qualitative research and social theory. Disabled adults who are non- and minimally-verbal face multiple access barriers with regard to research contribution and to being read as experts of their own experience. As such, Hannah frames methodology as an important site and opportunity to think through issues of accessibility, capacity, and ethical engagement that drive her research project. In her pilot research, Hannah used ‘cognitive maps’, sometimes called ‘mental maps’ or ‘sketch maps’ in an effort to grasp peoples’ perceptions of places based on affective images—emotional and perceptive responses that attach feeling and meaning to a place based on remembered impressions or external influences. Hannah and Jeff will be joined by map-maker Logan to discuss some preliminary findings and insights arising out of this pilot project. 

Poster by Johanna Pokorny

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