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58596-01 - Kurs: Critical Cartography 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2024
Angebotsmuster Jedes Herbstsemester
Inhalt Course Description: Critical Cartography and Spatial Narratives - Decoding Power and Politics in Maps
This course offers an in-depth investigation into the transformative roles of maps as instruments of power, control, and social organization, transcending the mere geographical or aesthetic dimensions. Maps are far from passive or neutral; they actively construct, represent, and influence our understanding of the world. From colonial imprints to modern data visualizations, maps serve as powerful narratives that shape and are shaped by cultural, political, and socio-economic contexts. In addition to exploring the political and social dimensions of cartography, this course will also equip students with practical research methods in urban studies. These methods aim to enhance students' ability to engage in critical cartographic practices and to conduct independent urban research.

Theoretical Underpinnings: Maps as Instruments of Power and Control
The course will launch with a theoretical framework that critically examines how maps serve as both instruments of hegemony and platforms for contestation. Maps have historically functioned as tools in the service of colonialism, imperialism, and other forms of control. They have played a role in delineating territories, erasing indigenous cultures, and imposing new realities. The course will delve into various epistemologies that have given rise to different types of maps, from colonial mappings to those that represent marginalized or occupied territories. We will consider the ethical dimensions of these practices, scrutinizing how they contribute to hidden legacies of violence and injustice.

Counter-Cartographies and Resistance
As we explore the conventional power dynamics embedded in cartography, we will also engage with forms of resistance to these mainstream narratives. This includes the study of counter-cartographies, participatory maping, and other alternative mapping practices that aim to make visible marginalized experiences and histories. These counter-narratives challenge dominant mappings by providing platforms for voices that are often silenced, thereby becoming tools for social justice and transformation. Students will be introduced to key examples and case studies that exemplify how maps can also be used to destabilize established structures of power.

Hands-On Mapping in Basel's Urban Context
The course will feature a hands-on component rooted in the urban landscape of Basel. Students will engage in fieldwork using a diverse array of mapping tools and techniques to examine local spatial relations. This practical aspect is designed to complement the theoretical frameworks discussed in class, offering students a grounded understanding of how power relations manifest spatially in our immediate environment. By employing interdisciplinary methods such as archival research, visual analysis, and remote sensing technologies, students will have the opportunity to construct their own alternative cartographic narratives.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Mapping: Technology, Ethics, and Beyond
The course will also delve into the technological advancements that have revolutionized cartography. From GIS to map hacking, Ai’s and big data analytics, these technologies have democratized the field but have also introduced ethical complexities that demand critical scrutiny. Students will be exposed to these technologies, but the focus will remain on their ethical implications and potential as instruments for both power and resistance.

By the end of the course, students will not only have a comprehensive understanding of the historical and theoretical frameworks that have shaped cartography but also practical skills in creating alternative, ethically informed maps. This course challenges students to think beyond the surface and to engage deeply with maps as dynamic entities interwoven with the socio-political fabric of our world.
Lernziele Understand the Historical Context of Cartography: Analyze the historical evolution of cartography, particularly its role in colonialism, imperialism, and other forms of societal control.

Critically Evaluate Maps as Instruments of Power: Develop the ability to critically interpret maps, recognizing the underlying power dynamics, ethical considerations, and social implications.

Engage with Counter-Cartographic Practices: Familiarize themselves with alternative mapping practices, including counter-cartographies and participatory GIS, that serve as forms of resistance to dominant narratives.

Apply Theoretical Concepts to Real-World Contexts: Utilize the theoretical frameworks discussed in the course to analyze spatial relations in the urban context of Basel, or any other chosen locale.

Gain Practical Mapping Skills: Acquire hands-on experience in using various mapping tools and technologies for fieldwork, archival research, and data visualization.

Interrogate Ethical Dimensions of Modern Cartography: Investigate the ethical implications arising from the use of modern technologies like GIS, map hacking, and big data in cartography.

Develop Interdisciplinary Mapping Techniques: Learn to integrate methods from different disciplines, such as archival research, visual analysis, and remote sensing, into their cartographic practices.

Create Alternative Cartographic Narratives: Apply both theoretical knowledge and practical skills to create maps that challenge traditional perspectives and give voice to marginalized communities.

Participate in Intellectual Discourse: Engage in thoughtful discussions and debates on the social relevance, politics, and ethics of mapping, contributing to the broader academic discourse on critical cartography.

Synthesize Multiple Sources of Information: Combine insights from readings, lectures, discussions, and fieldwork to produce a nuanced understanding of the multi-faceted roles of maps in society.

Through achieving these objectives, students will come away with both a deep theoretical understanding of the social power of maps and the practical skills to contribute to alternative cartographic practices.
Bemerkungen This course is on a first come first serve basis with Master Students of Critical Urbanisms and Changing Societies being prioritized on timely registration. Maximum capacity 35.

Assessor to be confirmed.


Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum
wöchentlich Montag 10.15-12.00 Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201


Datum Zeit Raum
Montag 23.09.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 30.09.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 07.10.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 14.10.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 21.10.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 28.10.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 04.11.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 11.11.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 18.11.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 25.11.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 02.12.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 09.12.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Montag 16.12.2024 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Universität, Seminarraum -201
Module Modul: Praktiken (Master Studiengang: Kulturtechniken)
Modul: Ways of Knowing the City (Master Studiengang: Critical Urbanisms)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen beliebig wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Urban Studies