Digital Project (In Progress)


This digital mapping project is centered on Marjorie Agosín’s Cartographies: Meditations on Travel (2004), and stems from larger questions posed by the Venice Ghetto Working Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz; the group has undertaken the project of thinking through the meaning of the ghetto in the context of its 500th anniversary. Through digital mapping, I trace the complexity of ways in which Jewish spaces, including that of the ghetto, are revisited, re-inscribed, entangled, and recycled in Agosín’s poems, as she simultaneously works through her experience of exile in the period of the Chilean post-dictatorship. The space of the ghetto, as well as globalized Jewish spaces as a broader category, are ways of thinking through the more expansive themes of exile, displacement, national belonging, and exclusion. Through her prose-poems, Agosín complicates the idea of a static geography, weaving personal place-based memories into a complex web of Jewish sites of global significance. Reflecting upon her travels across four continents, she explores both the category of exile and a certain longing for home. I use this work to think about the re-inscription of meanings of place, and how sites of memory can come to embody overlapping stories that span both space and time. I question: How do these sites of memory travel? How can a digital representation of literary space help to visualize and make deeper the layers of history and tangled webs of place-based belonging encoded in the pages of Agosín’s text? What happens when we join various Story Maps together, and track different ways of traveling through the Venice Ghetto collaboratively?

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