I defended my thesis!

Caleb Winebrenner · December 17, 2021

Friends, today I am excited to announce that I have successfully defended my thesis! First, gratitude to my mentor, Dr. Jenn Bernstein.

Pending some final edits and administrative things, I will soon have my MS in GIS. It’s official: I’m a mapmaker. My thesis is titled Walking to the Longhouse: A deep map of the Central New York Military Tract and its indigenous history.

Here’s the abstract:

Since around the year 2000, the application of GIS has expanded. GIS has been increasingly embraced in other disciplines, including history and literature, and has gradually included qualitative approaches. This trend is embedded within the “spatial humanities”, led by humanists and furthering what can be incorporated and visualized in a GIS platform. Concurrently, critically-engaged forms of map-making are prioritizing subaltern voices and idiographic methods in documenting place, especially for indigenous peoples. These initiatives, which weave narrative into GIS, are broadly known as deep maps. This thesis crafted a deep map of Central New York, drawing on historical maps of the region and archival documents of the history of the Iroquois League (Haudenosaunee). The working hypothesis was twofold: first, that archival texts can be translated into cartographic representations through georeferencing and a close reading of historical maps; second, that such texts generate new map layers that counter official maps. To accomplish this, archival maps were digitized and georeferenced, texts were organized to create an indigenous gazetteer, and a series of new maps were produced. Overlaying these archival maps and texts revealed aspects of regional history that are often ignored or sanitized by colonizers — thereby attempting to foreground indigenous history within the realm of the local cartography. Moreover, these maps demonstrate applications of deep mapping for broader approaches to critical cartography.

In the coming months, I will be building a companion website for the project using Scalar.

More soon, Caleb

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