Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version

Winter 12-2011


Ewalt, J.P. (2011). Mapping injustice: The World is Witness, place-framing, and the politics of viewing on Google Earth. Communication, Culture, and Critique 4(4), 333-354.


Copyright © 2011 International Communication Association; published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission.

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Working from assumptions that inequality is often spatially informed, a set of interactive cartographies has recently proliferated on Google Earth. In this essay, I analyze one of those interactive cartographies: The World is Witness produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). I read the map as an organizational rhetoric that frames place as "embedded injustice." I also argue that thorough analysis of the framing of local place on Google Earth must inherently question whether the map can create a disruption in the viewing subject. While the map presents vital information on excruciatingly despicable acts of injustice, and the USHMM should be praised for its actions, it reinforces and is reinforced by the politics of viewing on Google Earth.