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ethnomapping in Brazil
October 11, 2007 1:10 AM   Subscribe

Brazilian Ethnomapping: Inside a thatched-roof schoolhouse in a village deep in Brazil's Amazon rain forest, Surui Indians and former military cartographers huddle over the newest weapons in the tribe's fight for survival: laptop computers, satellite maps and hand-held global positioning systems. Some of the resulting maps.
posted by dhruva (6 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't believe there haven't been any comments. This is an interesting project. There has been a lot of debate in the GIS community over whether technological solutions are appropriate in indigenous communities. I took a course called "GIS and Society," and we discussed this at length. The professor was Indian, the other students were white Americans (like me), and we had some interesting debates in which our assumptions about Western technological superiority were challenged. Even the concept of "map as a representation of the earth" is a Western invention.
posted by desjardins at 6:23 AM on October 11, 2007


Very interesting read - thanks for posting this!
posted by mateuslee at 6:27 AM on October 11, 2007


What a sad story. Has the World Bank ever promoted a project for anything that didn't end in misery? Slides 7 and 8 (that's art!) were the only comprehensible views of that slideshow, I assume that there was some sort of talk along with it.
'Nabekodabadaquiba' how on earth do you pronounce that?
posted by tellurian at 6:28 AM on October 11, 2007


A good mapping story with no legible examples of maps? Grr.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:45 AM on October 11, 2007


rolypolyman - see slides 7 and 8 of the 'resulting maps' link, they're fabulous (the legend is on slide 5, but it has many missing elements and doesn't have an english translation).
posted by tellurian at 7:03 AM on October 11, 2007


Even the concept of "map as a representation of the earth" is a Western invention.

Not only that, but the development of better maps (or, rather, the transition between medieval and modern maps) was a crucial step in the nation-state's rationalization and domination of space. See the excellent discussion in the middle of David Harvey's The Condition of Postmodernity as well as the chapter on space in Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities.
posted by nasreddin at 9:14 AM on October 11, 2007


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