Are Crowdsourced Maps the Future of Community Self-Governance? Food, Land, and Water



Prof. Jo Guldi, Brown University

Date and Time

January 9, 2014 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Wallenberg Theater

FSI Contact

Kathleen Barcos

Earlier generations of radicals understood themselves to be in an ongoing battle against the privatization of land and water.  They instrumentalized maps in the court system as a tool for battling for native sovereignty over traditional lands, protecting the rights of squatters, and securing access to water by poor farmers in the developing world.   Wherever battles for the commons take the form of a war for access to particular spaces, maps can help, whether activists are striking against high rents in the city, or protecting rivers from pollution.  Today, crowdsourced maps of land, food, and water present an opportunity for makers who want to work in support of a movement. My talk will highlight some of the most and least promising frontiers ahead.

 Professor Jo Guldi is presently Assistant Professor in the History of Britain and its Empire at Brown, where I teach courses related to capitalism, empire, land use, and computation.  Born in Dallas, Texas, I received my AB from Harvard University, and then studied at Trinity College, Cambridge before completing my PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley, after which I continued on to postdocs at the University of Chicago and the Harvard Society of Fellows.  My first book, Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (Harvard University Press, 2011), tells the story of how Britain built the first nation connected by infrastructure and technology caused strangers to stop speaking on the public street.  My next monograph, The Long Land War, will tell the story of international land reform movements from the Irish land war to Movimiento sin Tierra, lingering on legal reformers and civil servants, London's dredlocked squatters and their accidental influence on World Bank Policy, and the genesis of participatory mapping from Marxist development economists in the 1970s through radical coders in contemporary Chennai.

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