Hall Center For The Humanities


Margaret Pearce

"Digital Cartography and Collaboration in Maine: Transcultural Map Design with the Penobscot Nation"
Seminars : Digital Humanities Seminar

Tue., Oct. 4, 2011, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Open to faculty, staff, and graduate students.
Location: Hall Center Seminar Room

Indigenous place names delineate political territories, establish ancestral ties, locate and interrelate knowledges about environmental resources, demarcate travel routes and conditions, reenact transformer tales, encode climate change and climate adaptation strategies, and track the movement of communities during seasonal cycles. They are themselves manifestations of traditional cartographies, stored in the landscape and animated through engagements with that landscape. Maps are perceived to be necessary devices for the representation of these names, yet any translation of Indigenous to Western cartographies is challenging, and the maps that result from place name remappings often inadequate in their expression of the meanings and functions of the names. This dilemma is now strongly felt in the current explosion of interest in the digital mapping and dissemination of Indigenous place names, now newly urgent from the time pressures of language loss and climate change, inspired into action through the technological capabilities of digital dissemination.

This presentation explores the methodological and design challenges inherent to cartographic translations of place name landscapes through the example of Dr. Margaret Pearce's collaboration with the Penobscot Nation Cultural & Historic Preservation Department to map the Wabanaki place names of Penobscot territory. She will focus on how and why they are combining both manual and digital mapping tools in their collaboration, whether as mode of inquiry or means of visual expression.

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