Category: Session 4: Representation and Erasure

Restoration of erased landscapes, Counter-mapping and memory Activism: The Case of Zochrot’s Nakba Maps

Orna Vaadia
Ben-Gurion University

This paper examines the ways in which civic organization uses counter-mapping and memory activism to restore the erased landscape and the silenced history, within transitional justice proses, in ongoing conflict situations. Counter-mapping and memory activism are practices that seek to challenge the hegemonic perception of space, the hegemonic modes of commemoration and the collective space memory construction. Relying on the assumption that each technology enables the production of different forms of knowledge, which in turn, represents and constructs different ideas and different political relations, this paper will examine the Nakba maps: the printed map, the interactive map, and the navigation app- iNakba, produced by Zochrot. Zochrot (Hebrew word for “remembering”) is an Israeli NGO operating to promote the responsibility to the Palestinian Nakba among the Jewish public in Israel and to realize the Palestinian refugees’ right of return. The ‘Nakba’ refers to the results of the 1948 war and it stand for ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic. The Israeli and Palestinian narratives of the 1948 war constructs conflicting narratives. In light of this, the discussion of Zochrot’s Nakba maps will trace the spatial modes of representation provided by the different mapping technologies, the way they define the memory discourse in which the map seeks to operate and the ways of commemoration that they offer to each memory community.

Revealing the networks behind ‘informal’ urbanization: an ethnography of cartographic practices

Rita Lambert
The Bartlett Development Planning Unit
University College London

This paper develops a way of analyzing ‘the extensions of the extensions’, areas on the peripheral steep slopes of Lima- Peru, that keep growing beyond what is considered the edge of the metropolitan area. The occupation and construction of neighborhoods’ on the slopes is exposing an increasing number of the urban poor to hazardous living conditions. This urban phenomena has been significant in the last three decades in the Latin American region. In these areas, the practices of the State, land traffickers, disenfranchised peasant communities and those seeking a place to dwell in the city converge. This paper asks: how is it possible to research these processes and capture the amount of improvisation, experimentation and contestation shaping the relationships among all those involved? How to untangle actors and their practices and enable a transversal reading across them? To answer these questions, the paper focuses on cartography – the maps and plans used on the slopes of Lima. Through an ethnography of cartographic practices, it provides a novel methodology for bringing into view the processes, practices, alliances, and agency which are often invisible to policy makers, yet structure outcomes. In so doing, it offers analytical and methodological insights into contemporary urbanization processes across the Global South.

Visualising Everyday Colonial Commemoration: Digitally Mapping Settler-Colonial Commemoration

Bryan Smith
James Cook University

In this paper presentation, using the example of a small Australian city, I argue that the naming practices that give form to local cartographies serves to render colonial dominion over space and the past seemingly part of the natural spatial order. Inspired by Maoz Azaryahu’s (2009a; 2009b) notion of the “city-text” – the idea that the odonymic (street naming) selections in a community narrate a particular historical story of the past – I explore how settler contexts use and create mapped space as a commemorative stage, one where colonial might is written into the spatial backdrop of everyday life. To illustrate this, I present a web based map that plots out and surfaces the colonial naming and “city-text” of Townsville, Queensland to demonstrate and critique the symbolic and material normalisation of settler conquest and what historian Tim Stanley (2009) calls the “banality of colonialism” in everyday life. Further, I argue that this has meaningful consequences for how we anchor historical narrative into place; by writing conquest into every (literal) corner of the urban landscape, place comes to glorify European efforts at dispossession and the resultant Indigenous “ontological homelessness” (Moreton-Robinson 2003; Watson 2009).