Reflection on Mapping and GeoHumanities

This is a reflection of our reading/discussion on mapping and GeoHumanities this semester.

We discussed Monmonier, Mark. How to Lie with Maps. 2nd ed. The University of Chicago Press, 1996. (Chapter 1 and 2, 20 pages) in our class, and I did some further readings on this topic, shown as follows:

Cresswell, Tim. Place: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Chichester, England: Wiley Blackwell, 2015. (Introduction, 18 pages)

Guldi, Jo. “The Spatial Turn in History.” Available at

Dear, Michiael et al. Geohumanities: Art History Text at the Edge of Place. London: Routledge, 2011.

Engberg-Pedersen, Anders. “Introduction: Enstranging the Map: On Literature and Cartography.” In Literature and Cartography: Theories, Histories, Genres, 1–18. Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2017.

Cooper, David, Christopher Donaldson, and Patricia Murrieta-Flores. “Introduction: Rethinking Literary Mapping.” In Literary Mapping in the Digital Age, edited by Cooper, David et al. 1–22. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016.

I am very much interested in research projects at the intersection of geospatial technologies, digital storytelling, and literary studies, and I believe it is important for us to consider questions regarding the definitions of “space,” “place,” and “landscapes” in our own lives. For example, Cresswell gives excellent examples in his introduction, talking about location, locale, and sense of place, three concepts made by John Agnew. You will definitely make different connections when you see 40.7128° N, 74.0060° W, New York, museums/gardens/restaurants/bars you go to in New York, GC CUNY, and your home in NYC. And you are also doing place-making activities in traditional ways, like home decorations, and in new ways, like reporting an issue in Google Maps. These critical issues direct me to think more about space and place in cartographic imagination in history, literature, politics, business, etc. So I started to use concepts of map elements, projections, and symbols mentioned by Monmonier in his book to analyze and critique bad examples and so-called strange maps. Delightful experience! And I hope we can all explore the world and get lost on purpose in the future by harnessing various mapping tools.

For challenges when using mapping tools to tell stories/do digital storytelling, I will always ask myself some underlying questions, such as why do we map? What is to be mapped? Should we move beyond digital mapping tools? Can GIS be integrated with other methodologies in the humanities and geographic information science?