Maps, Mapping and the world's indigenous peoples

Frances Morphy (Australian National University)
SOAS - 2
Saturday 6 June, 14:30-16:00, 16:30-18:00

Short abstract:

This panel invites contributions from those who are interested in questions relating to anthropology, geography, and mapping, particularly as pertains to ethnic groups or the mapping of indigenous peoples.

Long abstract:

The relationship between anthropology and mapping has long been awkward. Anthropologists use maps - that goes without saying - but it is much rarer that they make them. In this, they contrast with what has been, traditionally at least, a core task of geography, or for that matter archaeology. Yet, is it altogether a positive thing that mapping has been so absent from anthropological research, and indeed curricula that teach anthropology? It is true that creating maps of ethnic or indigenous peoples may invite a mistaken sense of concreteness, and could indeed become a way of isolating and highlighting a vulnerable group, to their disadvantage. But are maps of indigenous peoples always to their disadvantage? Are there contexts, perhaps as part of a dialogue of reconciliation, or in projects to claim rights in land and water, when mapping can be deployed as a fundamental tool in the pursuit of basic rights? Can anthropologists play a role in devising new kinds of maps that reflect Indigenous perspectives on place and livelihoods-in-place? We invite papers that consider these matters from any point of view: historical, theoretical or practical. Case studies are particularly welcome, as are proposals which draw from both disciplines in their deliberations.