The Importance of an Alternative Mapping


When you ask most people what the top items on their “bucket list” are, or what they want to accomplish before they die, most will list traveling the world.  There is a reason that this answer is so prevalent, people want to get out of their comfort zone, learn about others and view the way the rest of the world lives.  This involves communicating with other cultures and learning their ways of life.  Although, this answer is so common, many people will travel places but not take the time to engage the culture of the place.  They won’t get to know the people personally, or learn the history of how they and their culture has gotten to this point.  That is why the idea of an “alternative mapping” suggested in the book Performing Democracy by Kimberly Segall is so crucial.


In the book, Segall describes the ways in which, when one is traveling, that they can learn and discover what she calls the “three correctives”.  These correctives are gender locations, social contestation and artistic revision which are often seen through forms of art (poetry, stories, songs, etc.) or social connections such as blogs..  These points which could also be considered as the healing avenues of the people, allow an individual to further understand the place in which they are visiting and the deeply intertwined history that is there.  An example of this would be the Kurdish songs used for rememberance and healing, as signs of “grief and hope” (Segall 10).


As a traveler, one can use these ideas as a path for them to find their way deeper into the history and culture.  To develop this path or “alternative mapping”, we as travelers realize that the culture we have grown up in deeply affects the way in which we explore and experience the world.  After realizing this, we can then see that just like our culture, no one place is full of homogenous people but every person has a unique story full of versions of these three correctives and the ways in which they use them as healing avenues.


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