Much like hungryscholar’s post, my map came from my own contextual experience–I grew up in this space that’s been (up to now) theorized as a “borderland” (thank you Anzaldua). South Texas was the site of many sociopolitical movements of which I can’t even begin to explain, but one of which effectively (affectively?) decided long ago that I was to be a US citizen.
Growing up where I did, I received a mix of narratives about the US and Mexico. I got the traditional “remember the Alamo, remember Goliad” education that most Texans receive in the K-12 system, but at the same time I heard and felt a different discussion from friends and family that came from a decidedly Mexican perspective. This lead me to my first map:
What this is is a mapping of North America as done by a Mexican. What’s difficult to see, but you nevertheless get a feel for, is the burgeoning US territories. What’s particularly interesting is that much of what is now considered New Mexico, California, Arizona, Nevada, and even some of Utah is still Mexican territory. Of course, this was created during the midst of the Mexican-American war, and precisely because of that war, most of that territory was ceded to the US.
It’s the politics of maps that most interests me and it’s where I see the foundation of my project. A map provides a decent contextual foreground for data visualization, which is where I’m developing my project. The new map (which was uploaded in my previous post) will be the foreground to the overall narrative. Without context, however, maps provide us with mere topography–my experience and research will (hopefully) fill in the gaps that the map opens up.
For now, consider how that border shifted in the 1800′s: the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo, depending on your nationality) marks the line. Then, I ask you to consider our northern neighbor. Finally, I’ll ask you to consider the word “NAFTA” and how it did or didn’t a/effect the relationships, socioeconomic or otherwise, between the three countries. If any one of those things changes, so too does the economic landscape, the politics, and even my very own designation of “citizen”.