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Memory, placelessness and the Geoweb: exploring the role of locational social-networking in reimagining community

CollectionsDigital Humanities Australasia: Building, Mapping, Connecting (2012)
Title: Memory, placelessness and the Geoweb: exploring the role of locational social-networking in reimagining community
Author(s): Corbett, Jon
Evans, Mike
Romano, Zach
Publisher: Australasian Association for Digital Humanities
Citation: Corbett, J., Evans, M. & Romano, Z. (March 2012). Memory, placelessness and the Geoweb: exploring the role of locational social-networking in reimagining community. Presentation at the Digital Humanities Australasia 2012: Building, Mapping, Connecting [Conference] [aaDH2012]. Canberra, Australia: ANU
Description: 
The concept of memory is integral to theorisations of both displacement and placelessness, especially when a sense of place exists only in memory or imagination for members of dispersed communities. Collective memories deployed to restore, re-establish, repatriate territory, and reconnect a people with its original homeland reveal the symbolic significance embedded within place, as well as the value of collective memory as a strategy of resistance and viable political tool. The challenge is to find ways that enable Aboriginal communities to document, share, and reflect on place-based memories and knowledge, and in so doing reestablish identity, culture, and language, which in turn will facilitate the re-appropriation of contested places. Geographic Information Technologies (GITs) are increasingly pervasive in Aboriginal communities in documenting aboriginal knowledge and land use and occupancy information. Many communities use GITs for a range of purposes, including land-use planning, cultural documentation, and territorial claims. The Geoweb is the GIT platform for Web 2.0 digital social networking applications. In its current state, the Geoweb is a tool for spatial representation rather than a platform for spatial analysis as with traditional GIS. Because of the interactive capability and ease of use of Geoweb technologies, they offer great potential for storing, managing, and communicating land-related knowledge to both decision-makers and community members themselves. The Geoweb's ability to compile and mash-up photographs, audio and video through a map interface gives it great potential for presenting place-based memories and knowledge, including toponyms, oral histories, and stories. This presentation reports on two community-based Geoweb projects with Aboriginal groups in Canada, the Metis Nation of British Columbia and the Tlowitsis Nation. It specifically examines the potential for Geoweb technologies to capture, communicate, and comment on community memories in these dispersed communities and discuss how the Geoweb medium alters information flow and the nature of the knowledge being shared.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/8991

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