News from the Centre

Call for Papers: Mapping, Mercator and Modernity — The Impact of the Digital

07.02.2017 This workshop will explore the relationships between mapping, linearity, imaginaries of control and global cooperation. What drives the growing demand for mapping and visualizations of the world? Does this reflect an increased capacity for contestation or of control and regulation or perhaps even a retreat from the world? What is at stake in the fact that maps and visualizations are not the world but leave an irreducible gap? How does the digital transform the politics of maps and mapping? The workshop that takes place from 25–26 April 2017 is part of a two-day event, including the 8th Käte Hamburger Dialogue.


The workshop and Dialogue form part of a Mercator project interrogating the transformation of technologies of global cooperation with the questioning of the epistemological and ontological assumptions of modernity. Gerhard Mercator lived in Duisburg for the last 40 years of his life (1552-1594). As a major founder of both the linear time and space of modernity, Mercator is most famous for his world map, the projection of the world in 1569 making straight lines match fixed courses of sail. Intended for mariners’ use, the map became the accepted view of the world despite its famous distortions.

We would be particularly interested in papers including (but not necessarily limited to) the following themes:

  • The power and importance of mapping as a technology for understanding, constructing and intervening in the world.
  • The impact of the digital on what we understand as mapping in relation to time and space.
  • The political possibilities of thinking and mapping otherwise and the implications for global cooperation.

Abstracts of 250 words should be sent until 10 March 2017. For further details, please download the Call for Papers.