Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography | Stanford Libraries

The third biennial Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography will focus on the theme of Indigenous mapping. The conference, to be held digitally, is hosted by the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Libraries, which sits on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. It is sponsored and co-organized by Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc., whose shop is located on the ancestral land of the Kumeyaay peoples.

This theme is of paramount importance, especially as Indigenous peoples around the world continue to fight for their recognition and rights to land and resources. Simultaneously, institutions are increasingly examining their roles in exploitative imperial expansion and settler colonialism. The history of colonial encounter and of indigenous agency can both be glimpsed in historical maps, many of which were made by Indigenous peoples or thanks to crucial, and often unacknowledged, Indigenous contributions. More recently, mapping technologies are helping Indigenous groups to monitor resources, protect language, survey territory, govern, and provide evidence for reclamation and recognition procedures. Scholars, many of them Indigenous, are voicing their critiques and interventions using geographic and cartographic frameworks.

All of these interpretations of Indigenous maps and mapping will be highlighted at the conference, held October 20-22, 2021. Each day of the conference will have a keynote, followed by panels that speak to a specific strain of scholarship: history of Indigenous maps and mapping, critical approaches to Indigenous geography, and digital applications. Our keynotes will be Alex Hidalgo (Texas Christian University), Mishuana Goeman (UCLA), and Eric Anderson and Carrie Cornelius (Haskell Indian Nations University). The conference will offer new insights into the ways in which maps and mapping are used by and have affected Indigenous peoples globally. Together, the three days of the conference hope to highlight exciting research, showcase a variety of maps and mapping practices, and to explore the thrust of this important field of study.

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