Course Resources

The American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Photo: Luke Spencer. Via Atlas Obscura

Our class website will be our home-base. Here you’ll find our most up-to-date schedule, all course reading / screening material, links to slides and lab instructions, an archive of student map critiques, and daily agendas with links to the various platforms we’ll use during our synchronous meetings and asynchronous interactions. Those platforms include: 

  • Zoom: we’ll use this video teleconferencing platform for our real-time full-class meetings, for small-group workshops, and for one-on-one conversations. You’re free to join our Zoom room before class officially starts, and to hang out after it officially ends, to engage in informal conversation!
  • Map-Making Tools: QGIS, Carto, Google My Map (we need to be conscious of the politics of using a Google mapping platform, but it can be useful for initial data collection, especially with groups), Leaflet.js and Mapbox (these are fairly technical and will probably appeal to folks who have some web development experience), pen and paper 🙂  
  • Slack ( this “channel-based messaging platform” is where we’ll (voluntarily!) share resources, support one another’s individual projects, engage in discussions, reflect on (and propose renovations to) our digital learning environment, etc. You’ll find Slack being used in many workplaces, as a home-base for collaborative projects and distributed resource-sharing networks (I’m part of several international academic networks on Slack). It’s a good tool to know. Use is, for the most part, optional, but previous semesters’ students have found it to be an excellent platform for mutual support. 
  • Google Drive, Docs, and Slides: I’ll be saving our recorded lectures to Google Drive, creating interactive class agendas on Google Docs, and sharing my presentations via Google Slides. You’ll be submitting assignments via Google Docs, too. 
  • Mural: this digital whiteboard will allow us to engage in multimedia concept-mapping and could prove useful for communication within small groups. 
  • Others: we might use Flipgrid, Hypothesis, Perusall, Voicethread, Twitter, Mozilla Hubs, OpenProject, or other tools if opportunities present themselves. Your groups are also welcome to encourage the class to experiment with additional platforms.  

To access password-protected readings, you’ll be prompted to enter the user name <___ and password <___>. Not so secret, eh?

Via Lovell Johns

A few notes about the weekly readings/screenings/listening exercises:

  • I think we can better appreciate the complexity, relevance, and resonance of each of our weekly themes by approaching them from multiple theoretical, historical, practical, and creative directions. That’s why, for each week, I’ve put together a mini “anthology” rather than assigning a single definitive text. Yes, sometimes those reading lists might look intimidatingly long – but the total number of pages hardly ever exceeds 150 (and a lot of those pages are illustrated!), and sometimes I substitute videos or podcasts to written texts, which ultimately makes for a reasonable workload. Plus, each text on that list is there because it has the potential to add a distinctive voice to our conversation.
  • Rather than offering separate lessons on or from the Global South and marginalized communities, which can feel fragmented and tokenzing, I aimed to integrate feminist, Black, queer, colonized, subaltern, etc., perspectives throughout the syllabus. Yet as Jim Malazita notes, there is also a danger in “uncritically integrating the works of marginalized authors into the broader traditions they are a part of” – or that they’re critiquing, or positioning themselves in opposition to. I have yet to devise a perfect solution to this structural problem, if there is such a solution. Instead, I hope these tensions, regarding the politics of knowledge and representation, become themes in our discussions.
  • My selection of a particular text doesn’t constitute an endorsement of it. Sometimes I choose texts that annoy me, or with which I disagree, for a few reasons: because they’re widely cited and I think it’d behoove you to be aware of them, because I want to allow you to exercise your own judgment, and because I’m pretty sure they’ll make for good conversation. In short: you’re not compelled to agree with everything you read! 
  • We will not address all the readings in our in-class discussions. Some readings are primarily factual, some are self-explanatory, some simply present interesting illustrations or case studies; we needn’t discuss these sorts of texts in-depth – but they’re still worth your time! They provide valuable nuance and color that will inform our discussions, shape your own understanding, and, ideally, inspire ideas for your own projects.

I’ll also post relevant mapping links on my Pinboard and in our “Map Samplers” and “Sensory Maps” Arena channels. 

I’ve taught various mapping courses for the past decade or more. My previous students’ work – including their map critiques and final projects – might be of interest and use to you. You’ll find the website for my Fall 2015 “Maps as Media” class (including examples of students’ work) here, our 2016 class here, our 2017 class here, and our 2018 class here