Speaker Bio & Abstract

Doug Specht Senior Lecturer
University of Westminster
United Kingdom

BiographyDoug Specht is a Senior Lecturer at the Communication and Media Research Institute, within the University of Westminster. His research examines how knowledge is constructed and codified through digital and cartographic artefacts, focusing on development issues. He also sits on BSi committee IST/36 Geographic Information.AbstractThe Cartographic Gaze emphasizes the relational dynamics between the mapper and the mapped, how this translates into the production of space, and how it reproduces the hegemony. The Cartographic Gaze found dominance with the printing revolution, new instruments of measurement and newly 'discovered' lands, which led to a prolific expansion of mapping activates in the 16th Century, producing increasingly detailed birds eye views of the world. These views from above worked to serve as tools of possession, the explorer and cartographers elevated position and the commanding view provided by the maps mirrored the divine gaze of God, positioning the commissioner of the map in a seemingly omniscient position. This process was instrumental in the forming of the Other, and with that the subjugation of the Other. There is now much talk of new participatory modes of mapping, and about the importance of Geographic Information in achieving the SDGs. This paper though questions to what extent these new practices can break-away from the Cartographic Gaze to create new knowledges and representations of the world, suggesting that the Cartographic Gaze is unavoidable within mapping practices, and that the digital age has the potential to inadvertently strengthen, rather than weakened subjugation