Imaginary Cartographies journal cover52.1, Spring/Summer 2014
Karen Jacobs, Editor


In recent decades the map has emerged as a key site of cultural and imaginative reworking, and yet the history of such symbolic mediations between humans and their spatial environment is also ancient and complex. Volume 52.1 of ELN (Spring/Summer 2014) will investigate “Imaginary Cartographies” across centuries and cultural contexts to explore a range of these symbolic mediations. “Imaginary Cartographies” includes those methods of mapping literary space that generate both imaginative and culturally revealing understandings of recognizable and/or created worlds and their modes of habitation. The term refers to actual as well as purely conceptual maps, and includes spaces of considerable variability: from the mapping of cosmic, global, or local space, to charting the spaces of the body or the page. Geographers have argued that the social history of maps, unlike that of literature, art, or music, has few genuinely popular, or subversive modes of expression because maps pre-eminently are a language of power, not of protest; in this view, the map remains a site of territorial knowledge and state power, authority and jurisdiction, social codes and spatial disciplines—one intent upon eliding its tactile and material conditions of production. “Imaginary Cartographies” welcomes approaches to mapping that complicate this account by considering subaltern or alternative cartographies—cartographies that elude, interrupt, or disperse forms of power, or serve not-yet-imagined spectrums of interests.