"Then... Sin Entered the Map"

Since Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, the importance of maps for national identity has been a commonplace in humanities discourse. Whereas the physical geographer measures the physical world in order to make a map, the cultural geographer measures the map in order to understand how people make their worlds. What then does the cultural geographer make of Google Maps? One little inkling can be found in a recent article in the Paris Review, “The Grand Map,” by Avi Steinberg:

Still, we have succeeded at folding many unruly miles of earth, from Manhattan to the Arctic Circle, into our own Grand Map. And, using our newfound ability to step through the cartographic looking glass, we began making discoveries… First, we noticed the fantastical creatures. The boxes with legs, the transcendent weirdos, the off-duty robots and headless zombies, the sad-sack centaur. Then things got a bit more serious. Sin entered the map.