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Presented By: Department of English Language and Literature

Dissertation chapter workshop: "Cartographic disobedience in Craig Santos Perez’s from unincorporated territory," Carlina Duan (PhD candidate, English & Education)

Poetry & Poetics Workshop

Please join us for a discussion of U-M English and Education PhD candidate Carlina Duan's dissertation chapter, “Cartographic disobedience in Santos Perez’s from unincorporated territory," on Wednesday, March 22nd at 10:30am. You can sign up to receive the chapter here:

In this chapter, I explore how contemporary Chamorro poet Craig Santos Perez adopts strategies of cartographic disobedience—what I define as reimagination of, and aesthetic experimentation with, geographic map -- in order to renegotiate access to familial and cultural history. I close read selected poems from Perez’s series from unincorporated territory (2008-2017), additionally drawing on an interview with Perez and an archival visit to the University of Michigan’s Clark Library, which houses a collection of maps of Guam. By emphasizing cartographic opacity, integrating embodied archives, and enacting rhetorical humor, I illuminate how Perez’s cartographic disobedience reimagines Guam beyond state-sanctioned and ecotourist approximations, ultimately positioning the poems as counter-maps against documental abstractions of place. Situating my reading of Perez’s poetics in the rich landscape of ongoing contemporary poetry mapping projects, I argue that Perez’s cartographic disobedience unsettles our typical associations of the map as a “natural object” or guide, and creatively thwarts the function of the geographical map as a site for place-based clarity. Perez’s practices of
cartographic disobedience thus make unique interventions in expanding discourses in the creative writing workshop, where maxims such as “Write what you know” constrictively trap writers — especially marginalized writers — into producing work that fits the constricting discourses of ‘cultural authenticity.’

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