Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



In recent years, maps and mappings have gained increasing attention in cultural-geographic studies. However, little has been written about how to employ cartographic products and processes as research methodologies in practice. In this dissertation I present four different qualitative mapping strategies that I label cultural cartographies and that aim to critically investigate the relations between geographical knowledge and representation, society and cartography, culture and maps. A region in Northeast Brazil, the Cariri in the state of Ceará, was selected as the space to test these strategies and to show how maps (both historic and contemporary and in their metaphorical sense) help construct, confirm, and even conceal identities and actively shape, define, and redefine a region whose history has been constructed upon official written records and left out less visible regional narratives, hidden maps, and storied places that I aimed to excavate through my mappings. The diversified set of cartographic tools for this study included historical maps and their social lives, mental maps as visual expressions of regional knowledge and worldviews, interviews about maps and mapmaking and the respective regional cartographic culture, and the author’s own attempts to translate words into maps and produce cartographic representations. Finally, I argue that these mappings stimulate the engagement and communication with different cartographic perspectives and open up a whole universe of possibilities and perspectives for the mapmaker, map reader, and cultural geographer that are not restricted to the academic setting, but could also be of practical use in society, taking into account that maps are not conceived only as representations, but also as translations and dialogues that help link material culture, discourse and performative ways to comprehend reality.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mathewson, Kent