Very rarely does a career in geography gets your name on official US government blacklists, but when you’re called William Bunge things like that just happen. Bunge, who also got himself fired from at least two American universities, did ask for it though: besides being a communist he also tried to fight racial inequality in North-American inner cities by using geographical means – lethal in the wrong hands as these tools are. Setting up the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute, he started mapping such things as occurrences of rats biting babies and accidents involving black kids being hit by cars driven by white commuters (‘if you can predict an event, why call it an accident?’). Since his work painfully exposes racial and political problems rather left untouched by some, he managed to become a persona non grata in certain circles swiftly.

Apart from a biography which can be found on the very cool website IndieMaps.com (and from which all the information in this post has been blatantly, ehm, borrowed) very little can be found about the cartographer-cum-revolutionary online – and the few books he managed to get published so far are rare and expensive. If anybody knows where to find more on Bunge’s work, please let us know!

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