Joy Santee

Inter-institutional collaboration and the composition of cartographic texts: Mapping the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route

Joy Santee

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2010 pp: 214
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 72/07(E)
  • Subjects: Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Bicycle route; Cartography; Collaboration; Maps; Rhetoric; Underground Railroad; Visual; African American Studies; Black history; Geography;
  • ProQuest Document Number: 866173939
  • ISBN: 9781124613611
  • UMI Number: AAT 3453366

Abstract:

This dissertation, Inter-institutional Collaboration and the Composition of Cartographic Texts: Mapping the Underground Railroad, extends scholarship in both written and visual rhetoric as it examines the collaboration between the Adventure Cycling Association of Missoula, Montana, and the Center for Minority Health at the University of Pittsburgh that produced the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, a 2100 mile route from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario. The project uses a case study methodology to explain how highly complex and collaborative visual/verbal documents are produced within and between specific institutional and social contexts. In particular, it examines how collaboration was influenced by the different social, economic, racial, and geographic contexts of individuals and institutions involved in this large multi-year project. The dissertation studies six roughly chronological processes of map composition (Planning, Research, Drafting, Revision, Publication, and Post-Publication) and argues that current models of collaboration are insufficient for understanding production of visual/verbal text because of inattention to the visual and because these models focus on the document being produced as central to the collaborative task rather than on the larger goals central to any collaboration. The dissertation’s conclusion argues for the development of a model of collaborative text production for visual/verbal texts. It also argues for the development of a rhetoric of cartography to account for the complex contextual and textual elements of maps before briefly addressing the social implications of the collaborations underlying this mapping project and the responsibilities of rhetoricians and cartographers to use their disciplinary knowledge to enact social justice. Ultimately, what unfolds is a narrative of a large project informed by idealism but grounded in the realities of institutional, historical, and practical constraints. It is my purpose to make explicit the roles and relationships present in the making of these complex maps to show, in part, that current theories of collaboration are insufficient for the complexities of contemporary composition practices of large groups of people working on visual/verbal texts and, additionally, to propose ways of understanding these collaborations better.