feminist mapping

Feminist mapping is a way to affect social change and aligns with Actor Network Theory. Actor Network Theory (ANT), a critical social theory lens, is a process philosophy not based in cause and effect notions, but instead looks for a sociology of associations, that is, knowledge as mediated or mutually articulated in interactions between networks of actors. The term actors refer to human and non-human mediators in an action or event. An actor-network approach explores social effects, whatever their material form, to begin to answer ‘how’ questions about structure, power and organization. Actor network theory, therefore, implies a mapping methodology.


Project Prompts

  • Select a product you use/wear/see—create a visual map that traces its social, environmental, political, & health performance.  Provide a key code for the map. Good Guide and Skin Deep are good resources to begin product mapping.
  • Or select a trope, code, lived experience, privilege, concept, bias, awareness, or value and use Google maps, video, NVIVO, or other media to set up an interactive visual map in which others can contribute to the mapping of knowledge and experiences


Learning Objectives

  • Learn hands-on, applied  skills utilizing mapping techniques and other visibility mechanisms to make the invisible visible
  • Make feminist theoretical terms, ideas, and arguments approachable, accessible, and/or available in other formats, vernaculars, and to new audiences
  • Connect theories and practices of feminism along key themes
  • Present your analysis to others to support collective mobilization


Examples of Feminist Mapping Projects

Situated Knowledge Map

The FemTechNet Situated Knowledges Map is an experiment in thinking about the relationship between space, place, mobility and knowledge production and circulation. By marking locations of significance to ourselves, we hope to get a sense of where we are coming from across the FemTechNet world. For detailed description and ways to participate, visit here.

Social Justice Activism through Feminist Arts-based Research

Two examples from Karen Keifer-Boyd’s 2012 course Social Justice Activism through Feminist Arts-based Research at Penn State are available at https://cyberhouse.arted.psu.edu/activism/

  1. Have you ever thought about the streets name? Where do the names come from, who is honored by naming streets or places with a certain name? Add to Monika Skazedonig’s map of gender and race in relation to place at https://g.co/maps/h9acm
  2. Dennis De La Gala visualized the global market of weapon dealing at https://maps.google.at/maps/ms?msid=206638824373747411924.0004bffc973ef3492e41a&msa=0


Mapping Women’s Lives: A Digital Cartographies Project showcases collaborative arts-based research projects initiated by the Spring 2011 Global Perspectives on Women students of Janell Hobson at the University of Albany and expanded by Hobson for this site. These projects use Google maps, video ethnography, and other media. Hobson is the author of Body as Evidence: Mediating Race, Globalizing Gender (SUNY Press, 2012) andVenus in the Dark: Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture (Routledge, 2005).



What is Missing?

Maya Lin Studio has created a digital memorial “not as a singular static object, but as a work that can exist in multiple forms and in multiple sites simultaneously.”  Envisioned and developed by Maya Lin, the What is Missing? Foundation’s mission is to create, through science-based artworks, an awareness of the disappearance of species due primarily to habitat degradation and loss.  https://whatismissing.net/#/home


Consciousness-raising and activism efforts that attempt to end violence against women via social media have the potential to lead to collective action and a collective solution when shared personal issues are understood to be political in nature and those who care unite and take action in hopes of creating positive socio-cultural change. For example, HarassMap begun in 2009 at https://harassmap.org/en/what-we-do/the-map/ and is a website that enables women worldwide to anonymously report acts of sexual harassment via text message and other ways to report. Harassment locations are marked on the website and local community outreach efforts are coordinated where harassment occurs (Human Rights First, 2012). (See alsoHollaBack!)


GenderArtNet is an experimental mapping project exploring the interrelation of gender, ethnicity, race, class and sexualities in contemporary Europe. Concept and development by Bettina Knaup in cooperation with Maria Ptqk and the media art organisation Constant vzw, Brussels.https://genderartnet.constantvzw.be/emerge/

Women on the Map!

Women on the Map! was launched on March 8, 2013 for International Women’s Day. The project aims to connect women across continents, creating a powerful visual representation of the vast, change-making impact women have on our world. https://www.imow.org/economica/stories/map

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