Christine Leuenberger, senior lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, has been awarded more than $150,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Social and Economic Sciences. The award will fund a project to investigate the political use of maps in a conflict zone and how maps become part of territorial claims-making.
"This is especially important at a time when various governmental and nongovernmental organizations and interest groups increasingly produce maps in order to put forth particular geopolitical visions," Leuenberger wrote in her grant application.
New mapping technologies and software enable various groups to disseminate alternative maps. "In such an environment it is especially pertinent to focus scholarly attention on developing conceptual tools for understanding the rhetoric of mapping practices," Leuenberger wrote. "The Israeli-Palestinian dispute over mapping provides a rich context for theorizing about alternative mapping practices so as to emphasize the importance of constructing integrative maps that recover diverse geopolitical visions. Careful analyses of how and why different adversarial groups map the same territory differently may serve as a resource for reconciliation. …"