2016-17: CFA—Mapping the Humanities

2016-17 Bingham Faculty Fellows Theme

Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society (CCHS)

2016-17: CFA—Mapping the Humanities

Beginning in Fall 2016, CCHS will be organized around an annual theme that provides the foundation for the academic year's scheduled events and for a Humanities Research Lab, involving a bimonthly colloquium.  The theme for the first year will be Mapping the Humanities.

Powerful metaphors for critical method; means of data visualization, orientation and navigation; tools for thought, understanding and learning; archival objects of intricate beauty and literary, historical and scientific importance; maps are, as Johanna Drucker notes, “a rich part of the cultural record.” This theme invites the disciplines to engage with new thinking about maps and mapping.


Untangling each crisis of the humanities is “like drawing up a map, doing cartography, surveying unknown landscapes, and this [is called] ‘working on the ground.’  One has to position oneself on [cartographic] lines themselves, these lines which do not just make up the social apparatus but run through it and pull at it, from North to South, from East to West, or diagonally.” – Gilles Deleuze


“Maps are a rich part of the cultural record. They show how we think about space, nations, and features of the natural and cultural worlds. They express our understandings of the spatial dimensions of experience, and they are fascinating documents in their own right, filled with historical and social information.” – Johanna Drucker


“Maps are often an abstraction of the physical or conceptual world — a symbolic depiction of a space or idea that allows one to understand and navigate an unfamiliar topography or complex topology. But while most conventional charts, plans and diagrams claim to offer an accurate, even objective picture of the world, each one is bound by the specific agendas of its creators and users.” -- Hans Ulrich Obrist