Bill Rankin is a historian and cartographer. His mapping activity is focused on reimagining everyday urban and territorial geographies as complex landscapes of statistics, law, and history. His maps have appeared in publications and exhibitions throughout the US and Europe, including articles in Foreign Policy, Perspecta, Harvard Design Magazine, and National Geographic and shows at Harvard, Yale, Pratt, the Cartographic Bienalle in Lausanne, the Triennalle di Milano, and the Toronto Images Festival; his maps also traveled for several years with ICI's "Experimental Geographies" exhibit. His historical research is about the politics of cartography and navigation in the twentieth century. He teaches at Yale University, where he is an assistant professor of the history of science.
Radicalcartography.net has been featured on a number of websites and newsblogs, including Le Monde, The New York Times (twice), The Washington Post (five times and counting), The Economist, The Atlantic (twice), Slate (twice), Vox (over four times), ARTnews, Fast Company (twice), WBEZ Chicago, Metafilter (twice), BoingBoing (twice), Business Insider, the Very Short List, Flowing Data, Visual Complexity, Apartment Therapy, Gawker, Gothamist, and many others.
My academic home page is here.
My Wikipedia alter-ego is here.
SELECTED WORK IN CARTOGRAPHY
ESSAYS AND PUBLISHED MAPS
"The Slave Insurance Market" (with Michael Ralph). Foreign Policy 222 (Jan/Feb 2017): 22–23.
"The Shape of Slavery" (with Matt Daniels). The Pudding: A Weekly Journal of Visual Essays, January 2017.
"The Human Hemisphere." In The Best American Infographics 2016, edited by Gareth Cook with an introduction by Robert Krulwich. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
"Redrawing the Map." ArchitectureBoston 18, no. 3 (Summer 2015): 42—45.
"Actual European Discoveries," "The Midwest," and "French Kisses," in The Best American Infographics 2014, Gareth Cook, ed., introduction by Nate Silver (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)
Maps of global agricultural land since 1700, in Food: An Atlas, edited by Darin Jensen. Kickstarter-funded as part of the Guerrilla Cartography project, 2013.
Historical maps of race in postwar Chicago, in Sarah Potter, "Family Ideals: The Diverse Meanings of Residential Space in Chicago during the Baby Boom," Journal of Urban History 39 (January 2013), pp. 59—78.
"A Taxonomy of Transitions." Map of present-day racial/ethnic segregation in Chicago. Selected for inclusion in the first annual Atlas of Design, edited by Timothy Wallace and Daniel Huffman; published by the North American Cartographic Information Society, 2012.
Maps of foreclosures in New Haven, in Thomas MacMillan, "Foreclosures Burn Fair Haven; Maps Tell Tale," New Haven Independent, August 27, 2012.
Map of the Adams-Onís Treaty, in Lindsay Schakenbach, "From Discontented Bostonians to Patriotic Industrialists: The Boston Associates and the Transcontinental Treaty, 1790—1825," The New England Quarterly 84 (September 2011), pp. 377—401.
"Urban Legends," Boston Review (Nov–Dec 2010). Essay and maps about race, class, and the idea of the "inner city" in the Unitd States.
"Cartography and the Reality of Boundaries," Perspecta [Journal of the Yale School of Architecture] 42 (Spring 2010). Essay and maps about neighborhood demography, "community areas," and the Chicago School of Urban Sociology.
Maps of U.S. agriculture, demographics, suicide, and subways. In Mapping America: Exploring the Continent, edited by Fritz Kessler and Frank Jacobs. London: Black Dog, 2010.
"Landscapes of Specialization." In Ecological Urbanism, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty. Baden: Lars Müller, 2010
"Local Food is Not Always the Most Sustainable Food," Harvard Design Magazine 31 (Autumn/Winter 2009–2010). Essay and maps about the geography of agriculture in the United States.
"Arctic Land Grab," National Geographic Vol. 215, No. 5 (May, 2009): 108–124. Maps about seafloor mapping missions, oil exploration, territorial claims, and the politics of the UN Law of the Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
"Urban Mass Transit Systems of North America." ArchitectureBoston (Winter 2009). Comparative analysis of subway-network topologies. (Collaboration with Jeanne Haffner.)
The Cargo Chain, a pamphlet and wall map about intermodal transport, published by the Center for Urban Pedagogy, Brooklyn, 2008. Maps of global and North-American intermodal flows and infrastructure. (Collaboration with Labor Notes, the Longshore Workers' Coalition, and Thumb Design.)
"One World II." Map of the global intermodal system. Included in the exhibit and international conference "Coder et décoder les frontières," Université Libre of Brussels, April – May 2016.
"A Physical Atlas of the World," "NIMBY vs. WIMBY," and "New Haven Center of the World." Part of the "City of Seven Billion" exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture, Fall 2015.
"The Midwest." Map of one hundred overlapping definitions of the Midwest. Exhibited at the Center for Western Studies, Augustana College (Souix Falls SD), in connection with their conference, "Where the West Begins? Geography, Identity, and Promise," Jan–May, 2015.
"A Taxonomy of Transitions." Map of racial/ethnic segregation in Chicago. Exhibited at "The Aesthetics of Information," a symposium at Princeton University, sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities, Feburary 2014.
"That Which Is The Case." Map of world railways. Included in "L'Architettura del mondo: Infrastrutture, mobilità, nuovi paesaggi" at the Triennale di Milano, October 2012 — February 2013.
"Tabula Repleta." Maps of land management and population in central Arizona. Included in "The 43 Uses of Drawing," an exhibt at the Rugby Art Gallery & Museum curated by Craig Staff and Paul Cureton, September—October 2011.
"A Taxonomy of Transitions." Map and video about racial/ethnic segregation in Chicago. Winner of the MiniMax mapping contest at the "Moving Maps" cartographic biennale in Lausanne, Switzerland. Organized by the Eidolon research network (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Laval University, and the University of Bergamo), April 2011.
"NIMBY vs. WIMBY." Maps of racial segregation in New York City. Included in "You Are Here: Mapping the Psychogeography of New York City," an exhibit at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery curated by Katherine Harmon, September — November 2010.
Selection of digital posters included in "Medium Resistance" exhibition curated by Nicholas Kripal, Richard Hricko, and Philip Glahn of Crane Arts and the Tyler School of Art, in conjunction with "Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious," Philadelphia, March–April 2010.
"A Landscape of Specialization" and "The Density of Food." Maps and animations about American and global agriculture. Included in "Ecological Urbanism," an exhibit at the Harvard Graduate School of Design curated by Gareth Doherty, March–May 2009.
"We The People?" and "My Cities." Maps about American Indian sovereignty and personal urban geographies. Included in "Experimental Geography," an Independent Curators International exhibition curated by Nato Thompson and Daniel Tucker, traveling 2008–2010. Published in Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism, Nato Thompson, ed. (Brooklyn: Melville House, 2008).
"Exploring Nice, Mapping Nice." An interactive project on tourism in Nice, France. Included in Toronto Images Festival "Transposing Geographies" exhibit curated by Christina Battle and Sara MacLean, 2006. (Collaboration with Kayte Young.)
"Radical Cartography" solo exhibition at Adams House Art Space, Harvard University, 2003. Featured in the Harvard Crimson, November 14, 2003.
LECTURES, TELEVISION, AND RADIO
"Seeing Cities: Laura Kurgan in Conversation with Bill Rankin." Interview about mapping and the politics of open-source data. Guernica, December 15, 2015.
Panelist for "Maps for the Invisible City" at the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival, May 2015.
"Base Maps and Invisible Landscapes." Invited lecture at the Yale School of Architecture, October 2014.
Work profiled in The Atlantic’s CityLab: "My 5 Favorite Maps: Bill Rankin" by Aaron Reiss, September 26, 2014.
Radio interview about the boundaries of the Midwest on "Current State," the daily news broadcast of WKAR (Michigan State University), March 2014.
Radio interview about Midwestern identity on "Middle Ground," hosted by Celeste Headlee and distributed by PRX, March 2014.
Panelist for a Guggenheim Forum on representations of geography, place, and exoticism, in conjunction with the exhibition "No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia." Guggenheim Museum, New York City. September 2013.
"Invisible Landscapes." Invited lecture at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (Bergen, Norway), October 2012.
Interview on Monocle Radio 24 about maps, design, and the future of bottom-up cartography. Aired April 4, 2012.
Work profiled in "Cartography, Redefined: Mapping a Pathway Through the Digital Age" by Akbar Ahmed and Daniel Sisgoreo, Yale Daily News, Weekend cover story, Oct. 21, 2011.
Maps of U.S. federal land used in "How the States Got Their Shapes," History Channel, 2011.
Invited artist and lecturer for "Remapping the Desert: Phoenix," a multiyear artist research project sponsored by the Future Arts Research program at Arizona State University. October 2009.
"Cartography and Urban Analysis," lecture to the Harvard Graduate School of Design summer program, July 2009.
Guest on BBC 4 radio program, "Shifting Meridians," discussing the history and politics of time-zone maps. Aired May 21, 2006.