Story Map Module

Create a short story map on a case of prison agriculture in the United States, as the case speaks to one key concept (e.g. racial capitalism, criminalization, labor, discipline, abolition, etc.). You can bring in other concepts, but if you do clarify how you are connecting concepts. As you develop your story map, you are encouraged to reflect on the five considerations from countermapping (Dalton & Stallman 2018). These include practicing situated analysis, considering when a map is appropriate, digging into the story telling, integrating innovative social practices into the map creation, and embracing the process. Access PDF of this module here.

  1. The case could be a particular carceral institution where agriculture takes place, a state with penal agriculture, a particular crop or animal grown and raised in carceral institutions, an aspect or reason for penal agriculture, and more. While you can focus on contemporary cases, historical examples and/or comparisons with historical examples are also acceptable. Be creative. Just make sure that the case is discrete.
  2. An engaging story map should be focused. An ideal story map is no longer than 10 slides (or some equivalent), each of which is kept short. Your story map should be no more than 1500 words.
  3. Draft an outline of the story map. Think through the narrative flow/argument you want to make and ensure that each slide clearly advances an idea that follows from the previous slide/ the first slide of the story map.
  4. The story map must be a mix of text, data, and/or audio/visual resources. By integrating these different mediums, you create an immersive experience for the reader and enrich a reader’s understanding of prison agriculture.
  5. When creating the story map, incorporate at least two of the following, making sure to draw on information about US prison agriculture from Prison Agriculture Lab data: statistical graphics (e.g., plot, choropleth, etc.); map; audio or audiovisual resource; open-source photo
  6. In developing a story around a case, the story map must offer a critical interpretation of penal agriculture. The concepts or ideas you integrate from class/the readings should reveal some insight that is not simply rehashing mainstream and/or official statements about the case at hand.  

Platforms to Create Story Maps

ArcGIS story maps

Knight Lab story map platform


Other open-source story map/mapping platforms



Growing Chains: Prison Agriculture and Racial Capitalism in the United States

What is the Carceral State?

COVID in U.S. Prisons

Mapping the Carceral in Visual Images

Knight Lab

Midwest Time Machine

Arya’s Journey

Introduction to Nine Prison Industries


Archaeology of Wine


Counter Cartographies Collective

Prison Writing Archives

Prison Writers


Dalton, C. M. and T. Stallman. 2018. Counter-mapping data science. The Canadian Geographer 62 (1): 93-101.

Dickson, S. and A. Telford. The visualities of digital story mapping: teaching the ‘messiness’ of qualitative methods through story mapping technologies. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 44 (3): 441-457.

Marta, M. and P. Osso. 2015. Story Maps at school: teaching and learning with story maps. Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography 2 (4): 61-68.

Mukherjee, F. 2019. Exploring cultural geography field course using story maps. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 43 (2): 201-223.

Newman, A., S. Khan, L. Campbell, S. Safransky, T. Stallman, J. Hale, T. Miles, M. Cassidy, E. Macgillivray, and P. Rodriguez. 2020. A People’s Atlas of Detroit. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Using Knight Lab tools for digital storytelling. Coates Library, Trinity University.

Walshe, N. 2016. Using ArcGIS Online Story Maps. Teaching Geography. 41 (3): 115-117. (Access article supplement:

Wieck, L. P. 2016. Tutorial – Creating narrative maps – Using StoryMap JS.