38 States Instead of 50?
In 1973 George Etzel Pearcy, with a strong political backing, proposed a remapping of the United States of America. The plan would have isolated larger cities, reducing the number of cities vying for a state’s tax dollars. The state lines would have moved into a more ‘natural’ boundaries, such as rivers and mountains. But because his plan called for an overhauling of the USA’s infrastructure the government backed out and it (obviously) never went into action.
It’s similar to the cartographic errors of the common world map which makes Greenland and Africa the same size. The Peter’s Projection Map (or the Gall-Peters Projection Map) adjusts these spaces to their ‘true’ sizes in relation to each other.
The major importance of mapping and remapping is how people of the world are represented. By misrepresenting their space, they are reduced to numbers and skewed in proportions.
The act of mapping, with political names (Chinese Taipei vs Taiwan) and non-real boundaries, is a problem within itself. The land is only marked off by peoples involved (or forced to be involved) in the majority culture. Land-ownership, as we practice it, puts humans so far ‘above’ any life on this planet that non-human life is all but forgotten. Fences prevent natural migration and harm native species.
Maps are the political representation of space and peoples, your world view is most likely laid out on the map you saw throughout secondary school.
August 26, 2008
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