A thick book with more than 40, multicolored and detailed (land)maps from and about different regions of the world – and yet this book does not want to be an “atlas”?! On the one hand, there is the (land) map as an embodiment of supposedly “objective knowledge”, as a representation of “truth”. And there is “Atlas”, the “male” hero of Greek mythology, who lonely carries the world on his shoulders.

And the “atlas” as a collection of these (land) maps, the scientific book that tells us: This is how it looks, the world! “Atlas” and “Land(K)arte” as harbingers, companions, results of colonial conquest, oppression and domination.

For what is “reality,” the editors of the curated collection of maps write in their preface, what is recognized as “objective knowledge” and “truth” is dependent on power. “Critical geography,” as practiced by the makers of “Tis is Not an Atlas,” questions, shows, and critiques these forms of power and knowledge production-with the help of other, collaboratively designed, dynamic maps that are full of, as the preface says, ” ‘ifs,’ ‘buts,’ and ‘question marks.'” After all, they also contain dreams, hopes and utopias. They do not want to be and depict static, purely academically produced knowledge, but rather make global and local distributional injustices, environmental destruction or human rights violations visible in a diverse, creative and power-critical way – and the diverse, creative resistance against them.

The system developed by the “orangotango. Collective for critical education and creative protest”. published book will celebrate its premiere in December 2018 and can be ordered on the associated website or, thanks to “Open Access”, downloaded completely free of charge.


kollektiv orangotango+ 2018: This Is Not an Atlas. A Global Collection of Counter-Cartographies. Bielefeld: transcript.

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