Another reflection I had with my Service Learning relates to the materials used in my field experience. By looking at the types of tools used – maps, books – I realized that Service Learning can provide students the ability to challenge things they are seeing and to think about how they, as future professionals, would rather do things. This is a map I had issue with, which turned out to be a great learning experience for me, as I now will pay more attention to the biases of the tools we use.
A. This is a map from the Cosmopolitan Map series by Rand McNally & Co. from within America. The maps in the series were not numbered, which makes dating them difficult, but it appears from what I see online that this is from the 70’s, maybe earlier. One big clue is that it lists the Soviet Union instead of Russia.
B. I consider this map to be distorted because there are distortions that exist in the sizing – Greenland looks as large as Africa, despite being much much smaller in reality. The reason for the distortion is because in a amp of this type – it is a Mercator projection map – that when you move away from the equator and try to flatten a sphere into a flat surface, there are size distortions due to the fact that the locations on the North and South poles are made to represent more land than they actually do. In this specific case, it is not so much a matter of bias or prejudice, but a technical bias that exists when you flatten a spherical globe in the position that this map takes (America on the left and Russia on the right, which could be seen as a bias of positioning.)