From the 30th to the 31st of March, 2017, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be holding the 2017 Great Plains Symposium. The theme of this year’s event is “Flat Places: Deep Identities”. As the name implies, many of the presentations planned for this event explore the nexus between toponymy and cartography. An excellent example is Chris Steinke’s scheduled paper “Melvin Gilmore, James Owen Dorsey, and the Collection of Indigenous Place Names”. A complete listing of the conference schedule as well as information about registration can be found here.
Why are maps so fascinating? What do they tell us, what assumptions were necessary to construct them, how do they shape our knowledge? The symposium calls for a critical reexamination of maps and the mapping of our region.
This topic is also to be understood figuratively, inviting us to consider the myriad ways in which “maps,” “mapping,” and “place” shape all aspects of how we see and understand the Great Plains. Thus included in the topic are questions of how place and mapping are used in or influence identity and culture, economy and society, agricultural practices, natural resources, environmental issues, business strategy, art and creative expression, literature of place, social relationships, politics and social movements, “deep mapping,” and any other ways in which concepts of mapping and place are revealing and useful.