Mapping, race and ethnicity

Winlow, H (2019) 'Mapping, race and ethnicity.' In: Kobayashi, A, ed. International encyclopedia of human geography. 2nd ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 309-321. ISBN 9780081022955

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The power of cartography has reinforced ideas of racial difference, in both historic and contemporary maps. Travel accounts of Greek and Roman times described marvelous others which later appeared in cartographic representations of the Medieval period. As new geographical discoveries were made by Europeans during the Renaissance, ideas of racial otherness were transferred to contemporary overseas populations. In the 19th Century evolutionary theories were manipulated to reinforce notions of racial hierarchy. Race was quantified and measured through the collection of physical anthropometric data in the search for “pure” types. These concerns shaped the emergence of modern academic disciplines including geography, anthropology, and cartography. An increased diversity of cartographic techniques and representational forms coincided with a rise in statistical data collection from the late 18th Century onwards, and provided geographers with a range of methods with which to construct their map texts. During the late C19th and early C20th many geographers produced racial and anthropometric maps, which reinforced ideas of European superiority. The mapping of race and ethnicity also served wider political purposes, including the legitimation of overseas imperialism, the delineation of national territories, and justification for anti-immigration laws. Racial and ethnic divisions currently continue to be reinforced through the mapping of national census data based on ethnic group and through genetic research, which relies on population samples based on assumed ethnic divisions. While there is general agreement that older assumptions about race have been disproved by genetics, these divisions continue to be reproduced in scientific and popular discourse.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Keywords: anthropometric mapping, cartography, difference, ethnicity, evolution, ethnic mapping, genetic mapping, map text, otherness, power of maps, racial hierarchy, racial mapping, race, sign-systems, social construction
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: School of Sciences
Research Centres and Groups: Global Citizenship and Identities
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Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2019 11:27
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2023 10:04
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