Oct '11 - Dec '11
From an article in Nature, Angry words over East Asian seas, about the controversial use of maps laying claim to contested territories by Chinese scientists; emphasis mine:
"Meanwhile, Michael Oppenheimer...co-editor of Climatic Change, has received a barrage of e-mails since June from scientists contesting a Chinese map that his journal published more than four years ago...But this kind of highly politicized debate over territory 'is not a question that a journal like ours wants to deal with', says Oppenheimer.
Why Chinese scientists include the controversial map in their papers is not clear. Following the e-mails, Oppenheimer decided that the disputed map had no relevance to the conclusion of the paper in question, and suggested that the lead author, Xuemei Shao of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research in Beijing, change it. Shao refused, explaining in an e-mail that the figure 'is requested by the Chinese government'.
Science, Nature and Climatic Change have ultimately decided not to remove the offending maps."
To make an obvious and pedantic point: Regardless of what scheme is chosen the end result exists relative to existing political relations and therefore will benefit some agenda. Even though Mr. Oppenheimer doesn't want to engage in a highly politicized debate over territory - representation of territories have always been a vehicle for exactly that - whether he likes it or not. Especially when said representation lays claim to 1.6 billion to 21.3 billion recoverable barrels of oil.
Probably the worst way to engage this is to sort of shrug, imply scientific objectivity shouldn't be tainted with political debate - and then do nothing! (That's right Michael Oppenheimer, geoscientist at Princeton University and co-editor of Climatic Change - I went there).
Now that it seems that Mr. Oppenheimer's publication has yielded to China's political agenda we'll have to deal with the consequences of rewarding this kind of soft imperialism, while undermining the critical objectivity of science publications.
Also, by choosing to not set in place a clear, consensually agreed upon framework dictating the representation of contested territories there's also the cost to the autonomy of the Chinese scientific community. If as the article implies Chinese scientists are being forced to include these maps the inaction of the scientific community has provided no external leverage for Chinese scientists to fight back against unwanted state intrusion.
This blog is a way for me to think through an idea of architecture as a vehicle for advocacy. I want to be rigorous about this; to understand our everyday spaces as a product of dominant political orders, and then unpack notions of space and politics as a way to critique them. I adopt this method in order to establish a logical foundation from which to construct a model of critical architecture. This can play out in many ways, I'd like to use the blog as a way of structuring these ideas.