Inside the Cartographic State: Local Mapping and the Practice of Constitutional Cartography in Nepal

- Amy Johnson

Discussion Type: Research Seminar Series | Date: 12 Jun 2022 | Time: 03:00 PM


Research Seminar Series

Inside the Cartographic State: Local Mapping and the Practice of Constitutional Cartography in Nepal

Amy Johnson, PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University

Date, Time and Venue:
Sunday, June 12, 2022 (जेठ २९, २०७९)
03:00 – 04:30 PM (NPT)
Martin Chautari Seminar Hall, Thapathali, Kathmandu

Facebook LIVE:

The promulgation of the Nepal Constitution on 20 September 2015 opened a new chapter in state restructuring, one in which the constitution became an instrument for mapping local level federal units and special, protected, and autonomous areas. This presentation follows a loosely connected group of “unlikely cartographers” across the Local Level Restructuring Commission and Kailali district as they interpret the constitution cartographically to create meaningful maps for local level federalism within the varied political, social, and physical landscapes of district space. The animated and often incongruous discussions on the local map occurring amongst activists, bureaucrats, politicians, and lawyers brings to life a growing international trend in constitutional cartography—a state-centric cartographic practice mediated through acts of constitution writing and constitutional interpretation—surfacing within countries contending with the adoption of federal and devolved power arrangements amidst territorialized political conflicts. How Nepalis took up the practice of constitutional cartography reveals the tensions of social and spatial ordering shaping contemporary state making practices. By applying an ethnographic lens to federal state restructuring, the presentation provides a humanistic portrayal of constitutional cartography in Nepal, and in doing so populates a black box in Nepal’s recent cartographic history.


- Amy Johnson

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