Immappancy; Or, Africa Is A Continent

13 Oct

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12 Responses to “Immappancy; Or, Africa Is A Continent”

  1. Douglas October 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    But Russia, Canada, Argentina and Norway have it about covered. I find it surprising that there are so many countries packed into such a limited area, and doubly surprising that so few people live there.

  2. Pablo K October 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Well, Argentina has also been somewhat short-changed in the past. It’s just as illuminating to look at a Gall-Peters projection of the world – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Gall-peters.jpg – (correct for area) since what we are used to seeing as a world map is based on a form of projection which increases the apparent size of countries distant from the equator.

  3. Douglas October 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    I prefer to think of the Mapuche indians as the real losers in that particular process. It is an interesting map, but I think I saw my first Peter’s projection in about 1991, and I suppose I’m just surprised that the discourse of cartographical marginalisation keeps coming around again and again.

  4. Douglas October 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Furthermore, if it is purely a cartographical issue, then why aren’t we horrified to find that Antarctica is very often excluded altogether. I’m not even sure that it is all properly mapped! Quite shocking.

  5. Pablo K October 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Aren’t you becoming quite the academic troll (http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/011172.html )?

    I was seven for almost all of 1991, which may be why I didn’t catch the meme back then. Although I don’t recognise the critique of immappancy as being sufficiently widespread to constitute anything so total as a ‘discourse’, my semi-educated guess would be that people have mentioned it more than once because they keep discovering it afresh.

    No one mentioned horror, still less identified this as the epiphenomenal expression of naughty Western imperialism or an interesting footnote in the annals of geometrical transformation.

  6. Douglas October 14, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Youth, like ignorance, is no defence.

    • Douglas October 15, 2010 at 12:22 am #

      more seriously, I don’t honestly imagine that the marginalisation of Africa has anything to do with people not having a clear estimation of just how big it is. I tend to think that people not understanding how big Africa is has something to do with its relative marginalisation. And I don’t think size matters, much.

      • Pablo K October 15, 2010 at 12:25 am #

        Who said otherwise? Stop shadow-boxing straw men.

    • Pablo K October 15, 2010 at 12:24 am #

      Well, if you could enumerate everything you know for us, we’ll make sure not to impose any more of our redundant opinions and naïve discoveries on you.

  7. Douglas October 15, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    On the question of straw men: It seems strongly implied by the fact that the map was produced at all, and that it is entitled ‘The True Size of Africa’. But maybe I’m reading more into than I should. You also posted it without comment, from which I infer that you think it speaks for itself.

    On the question of imposition: I actually liked the map, I just thought it was interesting that these sort of maps are always accompanied by the thought that somehow this is new and surprising. And I thought you might find that interesting as well. I’m afraid my attempt to pose my thought in a vaguely humorous and off hand way came across as a bit patronising, perhaps. But it was meant only with the greatest of respect.

    • Pablo K October 15, 2010 at 11:52 am #

      Do I think that there’s some kind of relationship between immappancy and the contemporary political situation of Africa? Yes. That much you read entirely correctly. Does it follow that I think that ‘not knowing how big Africa is’ is implicated as a cause of its marginalisation, rather than vice versa? No.

  8. Andrew May 6, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    So few people live there? It has the second highest population of any continent and a higher population density than North America. If they did not have the death rates of children that they do, they would likely be much more populated than Asia.

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