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CITO Seminar: Categorizing the West Bank Barrier

a seminar on map making and politics in Israel / Palestine

Event details


Jul 15, 2013
from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM


Room Q233, Quinn Building, Belfield

Contact Name

Gianluca Miscione

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by Christine Leuenberger, Cornell University

Abstract: The West Bank Barrier increasingly reshapes Israeli and Palestinian land-and cityscapes. Its physical infrastructure - which consists of walls and an elaborate fence system - are depicted prominently in some maps, but disappear or are omitted in others. This paper examines how different Israeli, Palestinian, and international governmental and non-governmental cartographic institutions delineate the West Bank Barrier in maps. The focus is on how various visual and textual devices as well as spatial markers are used to represent the barrier as a type of infrastructure, ranging from being a wall, a barrier, a fence or a road. The category chosen to represent the barrier communicates certain social and political concerns, constructs particular spatial orders, and portrays the West Bank Barrier as either a negligible feature of the landscape or as a significant obstacle to the freedom of movement. The cartographic construction of the barrier in maps shows how cartographers’ assumptions concerning its function, the map’s target audience, and the adequacy of various national and trans-national cartographic standards, may provide an authoritative and legitimate, yet, an inevitably political and locally produced, representation of the West Bank Barrier as part of a category of things.

Here you can find a related publication: link

Christine Leuenberger's homepage