4 November 2019

Copenhagen Landscape Lectures

When Maps Become the World

Thursday 28 November 2019 16:30-18:00

Public lecture by Dr. Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Associate Professor University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dr. Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther will talk about his forthcoming book When Maps Become the World in which he discusses map making and, ultimately, map thinking that is ubiquitous across literature, cosmology, mathematics, psychology, and genetics. We partition, summarize, organize, and clarify our world via spatialized representations. Our maps and, more generally, our representations seduce and persuade; they build and destroy. They are the ultimate record of empires and of our evolving comprehension of our world.
This book is about the promises and perils of map thinking. Maps are purpose-driven abstractions, discarding detail to highlight only particular features of a territory. By preserving certain features at the expense of others, they can be used to reinforce a privileged position.

When Maps Become the World shows us how the scientific theories, models, and concepts we use to intervene in the world function as maps, and explores the consequences of this, both good and bad. We increasingly understand the world around us in terms of models, to the extent that we often take the models for reality. Winther explains how in time, our historical representations in science, in cartography, and in our stories about ourselves replace individual memories and become dominant social narratives – they become reality, and they can remake the world.

After the lecture and discussions, everyone is invited to an informal reception. We are looking forward to seeing you!

Location: IGN, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Auditorium Landskab
Contact: Heidi Svenningsen Kajita, hsvenningsen@hotmail.com
Practicalities: Open to all, limited seating

Dr. Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther is a scientist, explorer, collaborator, and philosopher at large. Currently an Associate Professor in the Humanities Division at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Winther has held the title also of Guest Researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University; Assistant Professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico in Mexico City; and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. His CV includes over 60 works in distinguished academic venues, the development and teaching of dozens of graduate and undergraduate courses, and nearly 100 lectures delivered around the globe. He has published on social and scientific controversy regarding genetics, evolution, and race, and on cartography and map-making in oceanography, cosmology, neuroscience. He ultimately worries about the immense promises and terrifying shortcomings of scientific theory and practice.