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On being technopositional in digital geographies

It was such an honor to give the 2017 cultural geographies Annual Lecture of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in Boston. My lecture, "On being technopositional in digital geographies", has just been published, online first, and is free to access. Download the PDF directly, here. Many thanks to John Wylie, Dydia DeLyser, and Anna Secor and the editorial board for the invitation.

Wilson, Matthew W. 2018. "On being technopositional in digital geographies." cultural geographies. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1474474017743030.

Abstract:
The rising interest in the digital within geography has created an opportunity to reassert the role and responsibility of academic inquiry – to study and to do, to understand and to intervene, to put thought into action, to be technopositional. Indeed, a groundswell of interest in what is termed ‘digital geographies’ across Anglophone human geography has been marked by the recent organization of working and specialty groups o…
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Book: New Lines

I am beyond thrilled to learn that New Lines: Critical GIS and the Trouble of the Map is now in print. This book is my attempt to re-examine the practice of mapmaking, amidst the troubles that the map presents. The abstract and endorsements of the text, now available from University of Minnesota Press, follows. You can also receive 30% off when you order at www.upress.umn.edu, using discount code MN81730. Offer expires Jan. 1, 2018.
"With rapidly shifting digital technologies, geo-surveillance, everyday cartography, privatized georeferenced data, and neoliberalization, New Lines offers a reflexive reassessment of the scholarly praxis of critical GIS, an increasingly anachronistic term. Attentive also to contemporary philosophical debates, Matthew W. Wilson’s lively and ambitious manifesto pushes the reader to re-examine everything they thought they knew about the topic." Eric Sheppard, UCLA
"This elegantly argued book offers a brilliantly original perspective on the ma…

Critical GIS pedagogies beyond 'Week 10: Ethics'

Sarah Elwood and I have a new publication in the International Journal of Geographical Information Science on the topic of teaching critical GIS. This was such a pleasure to write as it allowed Sarah and I to reflect upon our own 'tinker and fail' moments in our GIS/mapping classrooms, from first-year courses to capstone, community-based workshops. Here, we specifically challenge conventional approaches that seek to simply tack-on a discussion of ethics in GIScience coursework. View the article here. (Let me know if you need access.)

Elwood, Sarah A., and Matthew W. Wilson. 2017, advanced online. Critical GIS pedagogies beyond ‘Week 10: Ethics’. International Journal of Geographical Information Science.

Abstract:
Over two decades after the scholarly interventions that coalesced into ‘critical GIS’ as a field within GIScience, critical GIS remains underdeveloped in conversations on teaching and learning. The literature on GIScience education has emphasized content more than peda…

Edited Book: Understanding Spatial Media

I'm so pleased to learn that Understanding Spatial Media, an edited collection I worked on with Rob Kitchin and Tracey Lauriault, is finally published (we began a conversation about this project nearly three years ago)! Many thanks go out to all our 22 contributors. The table of contents is listed below. The project sets out to be a snapshot into a shifting discussion on the variety of spatial techniques and technocultures that permeate and delineate everyday life (for some). Thanks again, everyone!

Kitchin, Rob, Tracey Lauriault, and Matthew W. Wilson, eds. 2017. Understanding Spatial Media. 1st edition. ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Inc.

Understanding spatial media Rob Kitchin, Tracey P. Lauriault and Matthew W. Wilson 
Part 1: Spatial media technologies Britta Ricker, GISJeremy Crampton, Digital MappingMark Graham, Digitally augmented geographiesJim Thatcher, Locative and sousveillant mediaJessa Lingel, Social MediaShannon Mattern, Urban dashboardsStephen Ervin, Geodesign Part 2: Sp…

Review of Program Earth (2016)

My review of Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet, by Jennifer Gabrys (2016, Minnesota Press), was published in cultural geographies.

Jennifer Gabrys has created a foundational text for the study of the ‘becoming environmental of computation’ (p. 25), delivering a series of critical interventions with a long shelf-life – beyond the hype and imagery of the space-times of sensor and policy prescriptions. Program Earth is not a list of instructions nor a user’s manual, but a statement on the present moment. Key to these interventions is a re-framing of the post–Cold War imaginary, borne of Earthrise in 1968 – that the planet is not a single system of ecological relations, but multiple worlds borne of a dense mesh of sensors, differentially invoked. The sensing of an environment is more than a relationship based on observation and description. Instead, Gabrys contemplates the ways in which ‘the experiment is generative of modes of exper…

Video: But do you actually do GIS?

Last Friday, I had the honor to present the Houk Memorial Public Lecture in Geography at DePaul University. My presentation was based on the first chapter of my book, New Lines: Critical GIS and the Trouble of the Map (forthcoming in Fall 2017 with the University of Minnesota Press). The chapter and presentation was titled "But Do You Actually *Do* GIS?" and reflects upon the unique challenges and opportunities of teaching/researching within the field of GIScience. The video of the lecture is below.

The chapter begins:
"Utility. Its expression in the classroom acts as a piece of rhetoric to justify decisions regarding the value of particular curricular paths. Also heard among university administrators--as well as its close relation, ‘relevance’--it works to legitimate decisions about recruitment and staffing in the midst of a series of crises of confidence in higher education. Public scholarship. University engagement and outreach. Indeed, campuses and the scholarship …

Video: Closing Remarks at the Harvard CGA

Last Spring, I co-organized (with Tim Cresswell) the annual conference of the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis, where I continue as a visiting scholar (although visiting more infrequently!). The topic was Space, Place, and Geographic Thinking in the Humanities; see the conference program here. My closing remarks come from an earlier draft of my forthcoming book, tentatively titled New Lines (also from a piece for The Canadian Geographer). The text of these comments follows, along with a video (which captures a short discussion with Tim on mapping and space). Geographic information systems are more than what GIS users and developers tell us they are. This advice extends a position held by Brian Harley in 1989 regarding the field of cartography--precisely the kind of suspicious attention that propels much so-called critical thought toward technology. Indeed, there is more to the story. Isn’t this always the case? Harleian suspicion belies a dangerous implication--that the use of G…