Brooke Notes 4/3/17


Wood, Denis. “Maps Work by Serving Interests.”

Text Citation:

Wood, Denis. “Maps Work by Serving Interests,” The Power of Maps, Guilford, 1992, pp. 4-25.


In this chapter, Wood discusses the function and value of maps. He explains that maps connect us with the past and the present and allow us to interact with previous cartographers of the same land. Through maps, we connect with each other, as well as with the world around us because maps allow us to do so. Wood claims this chapter, “attempts to say how it is that maps work, how they make present –so that we can use it today—the accumulated thought and labor of the past” (2).


Maps (4)

Present (7)

Future (7)

Past (7)

Labor (15)

Reality (18)

Quotations (2-3):

“And this, essentially is what maps give us, reality, a reality that exceeds our vision, our reach, the span of our days, a reality we achieve no other way” (Wood 4).

“Ultimately, the map presents us with the reality we know as differentiated from the reality we see and hear and feel. The map doesn’t let us see anything, but it does let us know what others have seen or found out or discovered, other often living but more often dead, the things they learned piled up in the layer on top of layer so that to study even the simplest-looking image is to peer back through ages of cultural acquisition” (Wood 7).

“It is this ability to link the territory with what comes with it that has made maps so valuable to so many for so long” (Wood 10).

 Better simply…to admit it that knowledge of the map is knowledge of the world from which it emerges—as a casting from its mold, as a shoe from its last—isomorphic counter-image to everything in a society that conspires to produce it” (Wood 18).

 “That is, maps, all maps, inevitable, unavoidably, necessarily embody their authors’ prejudices, biases and partialities (not to mention the less frequently observed art, curiosity, elegance, focus, care, imagination, attention, intelligence and scholarship their makers’ bring to their labor)” (Wood 24).


If maps allow us to experience the world in a more specific way, seen through the eyes of the past (Wood 9), but we still live our lives in the way we choose, regardless of the impact of the map, then what true impact do maps have on our realities?

This may sound cynical, but I can’t help but wonder about the usage of maps. If, as Wood claims, maps play a vital role in our society by linking the past with the present, especially regarding property taxes and the function of the land, then why doesn’t society utilize maps in a more mainstream fashion?

 “That is, maps, all maps, inevitable, unavoidably, necessarily embody their authors’ prejudices, biases and partialities (not to mention the less frequently observed art, curiosity, elegance, focus, care, imagination, attention, intelligence and scholarship their makers’ bring to their labor)” (Wood 24). Wood discusses the authors’ influences on maps here, and I can’t help but wonder: how do these influences affect the reliability of maps as artifacts of reality?

Further Reading:

Harley, Brian J. “Text and Contexts in the Interpretation of Early Maps.” From Sea Charts to Satellite Images: Interpreting North American History Through Maps, edited by David Buisseret, U of Chicago P, 1990, pp. 3-4.

Mueller, Derek, et al. “Emplaced Disciplinary Networks from Middle Altitude.” Cross-Border Networks in Writing Studies, Inkshed and Parlor Press, 2017, pp. 20-45.

Glossary 3/20

Imagination: Nick Sousanis discusses imagination as a crucial to “unflattening” our perspectives. He claims, “[i]magination lets us exceed our inevitably limited point of view to find perspectives not in existence or dimensions not yet accessible” (Sousanis 88). When referring to the function of imagination, he continues, “[i]t is the imagination, Etienne Pelaprat and Michael Cole assert, that fills in the gaps and links fragments to create stable and single images that make it possible for us to think and to act” (Sousanis 90). Hence, imagination allows us to understand life from the perspectives of others.

Understanding: Regarding understanding, Sousanis explores it as the creation of meaning through the process of making connections between ideas, concepts, items, etc. Sousanis states, “[u]nderstanding, like seeing, is grasping this always in relation to that. Even as we hold and stitch distinct viewpoints together, the space between them doesn’t collapse—it’s not a process of closing, of being finished. Rather, each new engagement generates another vantage point from which to continue the process again” (150). This notion further expands and evolves the role of understanding. [MAP]

Stop-Draw 3/6/2017

The Pine Point website discusses the town as being “immortalized in amber.” Part of this immortalization seems to be due to so many collective memories organized in one place. Two of the pages showed visual archives in the form of hats and badges. Thinking in this vein, consider the experiences of your upbringing. Create a logo for a hat or badge that best represents the town of your youth. If you grew up in multiple towns, do your best to represent your favorite, or most memorable, town.

Reading Question (2/27)

After explaining a brief history and definition of visual rhetoric, Sonja Foss discusses what she considers three markers that qualify an image/object as visual rhetoric. She labels these markers as “symbolic action,” “human interaction,” and “presence of an audience” (Foss 144). Regarding audience, Foss states, “Even if the only audience for an image is its creator, some audience—and thus the implied act of communication—is present in visual rhetoric” (145). Since, as Foss seems to suggest, the rhetor creates an object for the purpose of communicating an idea to him/herself or others, the self can count as an audience, too.

Though this explanation seems straightforward, this particular marker seems quite broad to me, and I can’t help but wonder about the concept of an “implied act of communication” (Foss 145). Does this mean that the implied act of communication has to be intentional? What types of images/objects are created without the intention of communication? Further, how can we determine if/when a rhetor creates with the intention of communication? How does one determine the presence of an implied act of communication?

Big Ideas (2/13)

Perception is something we come to individually, but we need to be mindful as we progress through life. Though what we expect and/or wish to see might not always be accurate, we still need to look, perceive, and explore reality’s potential. Annie Dillard discusses several examples of the perception of newly sighted people and the struggles they face when tasked with seeing for the first time. Some of the participants chose self-imposed blindness over actually seeing. As such, perception doesn’t easily change in our society, but if we spend time in the mindful, our abstractions can become somewhat clearer. [MAP]

Stop-Write 1

“A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me)” (Barthes 27).

Working with this definition, for you, what is the punctum of this photograph, if any? Studium?

Bibliography 1/29

Boschee, J. (2016). Language, identity, and relations: We Gaze as visual-literacy and arts-based inquiry in teaching (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from

During my search through Google Scholar, I found Jana Boschee’s MA thesis that cites Lynda Barry’s Syllabus. In this multi-modal work, Boschee explores the role of identity within the creation of artful text. She also investigates and explains the purpose of We Gaze, a social fiction created by the author. In We Gaze, the author and her cohort investigate pedagogy from within narratives produced by those teaching during this project. [MAP]

Causey, A. (2017). Drawn to see: Using line drawing as an ethnographic method. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Causey’s book, which I found on Google Scholar during my search for works that cite Barry’s Syllabus, discusses the value behind utilizing drawing as a way to re-see reality. Causey provides readers with a sort of “How-to” regarding mindfully seeing and interacting with the world at large through drawing. [MAP]

Groppel-Wegener, A. (2016). Writing essays by pictures: Redrawing the textbook. Journal of Pedagogic Development, 6(3), 65-69. Retrieved from

This article, which I also found through Google Scholar, discusses revisiting textbooks to decide if textbooks need to be revamped, in general. The article explores the concept of textbooks as a genre and proposes a new approach to textbooks, one that questions the design aspects. [MAP]

Shipka, J. (2005). A multimodal task-based framework for composing. College Composition and Communication, 57(2), 277-306. Retrieved from

Shipka’s piece, which I found through Halle Library’s database, explores the idea of expanding the reaches of composition studies beyond just written texts. Shipka advocates for this inclusive approach to writing and suggests the writing process should include consideration of the influence of the tools used during the process, as well as everything within the environment surrounding the writer during the writing process. [MAP]

Tolmie, J (Ed.). (2013). Drawing from life: Memory and subjectivity in comic art. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

While searching through the Halle Library database, I found this edited book. This book is a compilation of reviews and analyses of autobiographical comic pieces, created by various authors, which challenge the traditional notion of autobiographical. A review of Barry’s work is included in this compilation. [MAP]


Hi All!

I’m Meg, and this is my final semester as a graduate student. I plan to graduate this April with an MA in Written Communication, specializing in the Teaching of Writing. Currently, I teach First-Year Writing (FYW) and work in the University Writing Center (UWC) here at EMU. When I grow up, I want to teach FYW at EMU.

I have three daughters and three cats. Like Aristotle, I support compiling many facets of my life into groups of three. I love to cook and bake because I come from a long line of feeders, and I might also be secretly obsessed with movies based on Jane Austen stories…maybe.

This semester, I’m completing work on my MA project, which concerns instructor/student rapport in a FYW classroom and the impact of that rapport on students’ cognitive learning. Though I’m still working through my data, this project has provided me with much insight on my innate ability to procrastinate. I’m hoping to escape from the procrastination abyss soon.

I look forward to spending the rest of the semester with you who I’ve come to know and love, as well as with my future friends in this class.