Date of Award

5-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Miller, Grant

Abstract

Maps, while often regarded as accurate representations of places and spaces unseen in lived experience, are created with specific purposes that reflect and perpetuate particular epistemological and ontological conceptions about space and place. Using Foucault's conception of power-knowledge relations, Deweyian notions of meaning-making, and complexity theory's idea of interobjectivity; these theoretical works inform the map as a constructed reality. While maps have been well-articulated as socio-political constructions imbued with power-knowledge relations within the critical spaces of cartography and geography, this scholarship has made very few inroads into history education. In order to develop curriculum using maps to develop critical geo-literacy, I draw on a twin lens of critical carto-geography. In advocating for a more critical literacies approach, I assert that maps ought to be incorporated in the history curriculum as primary source documents where students have the opportunity to analyze and interpret maps as political acts. Through analyzing descriptions of practice, I explore possibilities to fully engage students in thinking critically about the construction and interpretation of historical maps. I also discuss the role of geographic information systems (GIS) as a potentially transformative curriculum that advocates inquiry-based learning through GIS maps and mapping. Engaging students in meaningful curriculum that promotes critical geo-literacy not only enriches their learning experience, it broadens the potential for greater democratic practices in educational settings.

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