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If I die Far from You: Deep Mapping Grief and Loss in the Context of Migration


If I die Far from You: Deep Mapping Grief and Loss in the Context of Migration

Alavez, José (2022) If I die Far from You: Deep Mapping Grief and Loss in the Context of Migration. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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The death of a loved one is one of the most challenging episodes in a person’s life. This experience becomes even more complicated when someone dies in the context of migration. Beyond the emotional shock, family members and friends might have to hold posthumous ceremonies at a distance, organize the corpse’s repatriation, and deal with their own need to grieve from far away. In this research, I aim to shed light on the potential of mapping for revealing these intimate and heterogenous posthumous geographies. To do so, I have deployed three different cartographic strategies to map the stories of eight migrants. First, I designed a series of narrative maps to focus on postmortem mobilities. These maps reveal that the movement of bodies continues to be influenced by emotional and economic decisions after death. They also display the local and global networks of communication and support triggered by the demise of a migrant. Second, I mobilized two mapping approaches dedicated to charting the personal and the emotional (i.e., inductive visualization and sensibility mapping) to represent the very intimate moments associated with the experience of death in the context of migration. Finally, I introduce the concept of “mapping-ofrenda” as a form of mourning and remembering. This third project emphasizes the value of the mapping process and the opportunity it offers to turn memories into maps. It also illustrates the importance to reconnect with the past and with relatives from afar. As a whole, this thesis considers deep mapping as an intimate and non-replicable practice, as a desire and a never-ending task that calls for a diversification of mapping forms and practices to reflect and face the challenges of engaging with difficult stories. It also establishes postmortem cartographies of mobilities, grief, memory, emotions, and solidarity as essential components of the geographies of death in migratory contexts.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Alavez, José
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:1 July 2022
Thesis Supervisor(s):Caquard, Sébastien
Keywords:grief, death, migration, cartography, deep mapping.
ID Code:990980
Deposited By: José Javier Alavez Gómez
Deposited On:27 Oct 2022 14:22
Last Modified:27 Oct 2022 14:22


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