Â On tour, I got to catch up with some reading and finished The Power of Maps, which Chiara gave me for my birthday.Â One of the things that was most compelling about the book was a brief overview of movements trying to redefine the role of geography and cartography in society, aknowledging the knowledge of any person and their ability to express that knowledge through maps.Â One project was the Society for Human Exploration, founded by a geographer named William BungeÂ and their mapping of Detroit, The Detroit Geographic Expedition I.Â I was able to find a little more about this in an article titled The Academy in Activism and Activism in the Academy: Collaborative Research Methodologies and Radical Geography.
From that article:
Bunge in his description of the early years of this experiment reclaims the use of the words â€˜expeditionâ€™ and â€˜explorationâ€™ so tied to the geographical tradition but redefines their use (Bunge in Peet 1979; p. 31-35). While mentioning the usefulness of the expedition/exploration tradition for those that undertook them he goes on to establish the ideas behind a new exploration. Bunge defines this â€˜newâ€™ type of expedition as a â€œhumanâ€ one: it is â€œa democratic, as opposed to an elitist expedition.â€ â€œ[H]uman explorations are â€˜contributive,â€™ (resource contributing instead of resource taking)â€¦Priorities are totally reversed,â€ (Bunge in Peet 1979; p. 35). The traditional idea of the â€˜fieldâ€™ and the geographerâ€™s relationship to those who lived there also changes dramatically and here one can also see some more of the organizational philosophy behind the D.G.E.I. experiment:
â€œLocal people are to be incorporated as students and as professors. They are not to be further exploited. Their point of view is given first place. It is democratic also in that if planning work results, and that is one of the main purposes of the Expedition, then the planners, the geographers, are expected to live in the mess that they create. (Bunge in Peet 1979; p. 35)