The first blog post in a great new venture I’m involved in together with other postgraduate students at the University of Sheffield. Really interesting stuff, it made me think about the use of maps in a whole new way…

School of Languages and Cultures Postgrads

Here it is, our first blog entry! Russian and History PhD student Alun Thomas looks at a recent article criticising maps of Syria, and muses on the potential pitfalls of maps when used to illustrate ethnic divides and conflicts. Is an image really worth a thousand words, or is a map showing ethnic divisions too simplistic – and perhaps even racist? And how does this affect Alun’s own research? Read on to find out…

Robert Fisk’s ‘Racist Little Maps’

by Alun Thomas

Robert Fisk is The Independent’s esteemed Middle East correspondent, and back on 4th March he wrote an article entitled Alawite history reveals the complexities of Syria that West does not understand. Since reading the article, whenever I sit down to work, I’ve felt Fisk standing over me and tutting.

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