The Power to Map: How Cyberspace Is Imagined Through Cartography

Presented at DEF CON 13 (2005), July 29, 2005, 5:30 p.m. (20 minutes)

An ongoing project for scholars in Geography has been to explore how power and cartography are mutually implicated. Geographers have traditionally been concerned with making maps of the earth, but until recently we have seldom reflected on how particular forms of knowledge and power are privileged in the production of maps, and how those maps themselves produce particular geographic imaginations. As new virtual spaces are opened up through communication technologies such as the Internet, maps remain one of the important ways that these spaces are articulated to the public. However, when creating these new maps of cyberspace, it is necessary to remain aware of the political meaning contained in these representations.  Maps of the internet that depict it as a disembodied, decentralized and unregulated space may in fact promote particular interests such as capitalism and national security, while suppressing others.  The aim of this presentation is to open up a dialogue where we can collectively critique existing maps of cyberspace and imagine alternatives that may be more sensitive to a competing range of interests, including those of the hacker community.


  • Kristofer Erickson - The University of Washington Department of Geography
    Kristofer Erickson is currently completing his PhD in Geography at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he teaches an undergraduate seminar on Law and Cyberspace. He is motivated by a desire to bridge the gap between academic scholarship and politics, which is one of the reasons he is thrilled to be able to present at Defcon. Recent notable accomplishments include attending the September Project, a nationwide effort to promote community discussion of democracy and freedom in local public libraries, legitimately playing a round of Final Fight on the jumbotron screen during an undergraduate college class, and standing up for the blogosphere in a roomful of old-guard Marxist academics in Denver Colorado.


Similar Presentations: