The Cartographical Necessity of Exile

full name / name of organization: 
Karen Elizabeth Bishop (Harvard University)
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The Cartographical Necessity of Exile

Derek Walcott identified a cartographical necessity of exile in his 1984 collection of poetry, Midsummer, when he wrote:

So, however far you have travelled, your
steps make more holes and the mesh is multiplied –
… exiles must make their own maps

This collection will seek to understand this cartographical imperative. What is the relationship between exile – understood broadly in its most modern, splintered sense to include external and internal exile, diaspora, deterritorialization, reterritorialization, expatriation, migrants, refugees, nomads, the disappeared and the ex-disappeared – and map-making? Mapping is a certain science that enables emplacement and facilitates movement. Yet it can also be an aesthetic project that draws on a heightened awareness of space and place, memory, and historical imaginary. So what kinds of maps do exiles make? Are they private maps or maps that can be shared? How are they conceived of and how are they read? How do they provide for new ways of thinking about the experience of exile? How do authors writing in or about exile represent the doubly ontological and epistemological exercise of map-making? And how, finally, might a cartographical necessity of exile challenge how we conceive of mapping, its history and future, its function, tools, and media?

I am interested in essays that respond to this inquiry from any disciplinary perspective, working in any language, historical period, literary tradition or medium. I anticipate placing the collection with a university press prepared to welcome the inclusion of visual media. Please submit abstracts of 300-500 words and a current CV to by 1 September 2009. Final essays of 5,000-8,000 will be due by 1 December 2009. Please kindly note that an invitation to submit completed essays will not necessarily guarantee inclusion in the collection; all final decisions will be made on the merit of the final article. Please also direct any questions or requests for further information to the above email.