This is a quick post that follows up slightly on my previous one. In the last post I mentioned a talk from David Pinder, a Reader in Cultural Geography at Queen Mary University who quoted Cuco Fusco and Neil Smith’s critique of the use of maps for military and imperial purposes. I thought it would be interesting to highlight a study that points slightly in the other direction.
Ezra Klein wrote an article on Vox.com (here) on April 8th, which looked at some research conducted by the political scientists Kyle Dropp, Joshua Kertzer and Thomas Zeitzoff. They asked over 2000 Americans to locate Ukraine on a world atlas, and then asked them if they supported US military intervention in Ukraine (this was at the time of the Maidan protests that looked like it could veer towards civil war). They found a strong correlation between a persons inability to locate Ukraine on a map, and their support for military intervention. In other words, if you couldn’t find Ukraine on the map, you were more likely to support the US bombing it (if you are American).
Maybe having knowledge of map isn’t such a dehumanizing thing after all.