“States of Separation: Transfer, Partition, and the Making of the Modern Middle East”

As an undergraduate, I was contracted by Dr. Laura Robson of Portland State University to make four maps for her upcoming book, States of Separation.  A blurb about the book:

Across the Middle East in the post–World War I era, European strategic moves converged with late Ottoman political practice and a newly emboldened Zionist movement to create an unprecedented push to physically divide ethnic and religious minorities from Arab Muslim majorities. States of Separation tells how the interwar Middle East became a site for internationally sanctioned experiments in ethnic separation enacted through violent strategies of population transfer and ethnic partition.”

This project was challenging cartographically because there were size and color constraints required by the book publisher, for instance, the only colors I could use were black, white, and two shades of grey.  Additionally, the maps are describing events that happened in the early 20th century, so there was little GIS data available.  I ended up geo-referencing some historical maps, and soliciting Dr. Robson’s help to place lost cities.  Overall I am happy with the final maps, though I wish that I had been able to find a higher-resolution hillshade for Map 2.  The only shaded-relief I was able to find at the time for the Middle East was from Natural Earth, and the resolution was coarse at 1:1omill.


Map 1: The Middle East, Post WW1

Map 2: Key Points along the Syrian Refugee Migration Route

Map 3: Syria and Iraq, Post WW1

Map 4: The Peel Commission Partition Plan

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