February 26, 2016
Intolerance Tracker is a platform that can crowdmap instances of intolerance across South Asia. The platform aggregates stories using a map, a compelling and intuitive medium that can present information across temporal and spatial boundaries.
The initiative is primarily led by a group of students at the University of Cambridge, but involves the joint efforts of three different collectives—Cambridge South Asia Watch, Justice Adda and Timescape. The idea for a tracker arose in response to the growing number of such incidents in South Asia in recent years, whether of religious intolerance towards minorities, the suppression of dissent and protest, or the exceedingly common instances of discrimination and exclusion based on gender, caste, race and ethnicity. Even though news about these incidents filters in at an unprecedented rate, there is little opportunity to stand back and make connections between them. As different religious, ethnic, ideology-based groups take ownership of events that target them, it becomes harder to see how these might be part of a calculated, systemic pattern to exercise power consistently and violently on those easiest to crush.
Mapping intolerance visually is the start of an attempt to make these connections, beginning with their spread across time and space. At the moment, the map is limited to the South Asian region — partly because of the interests of the people involved, and partly because shared histories make for fascinating and troubling inter-regional comparisons. The tracker categorizes incidents using different tags that relate to the identity of the targeted and the perpetrators. As more content is added to our map, these categories will help identify patterns: about what the most widely reported incidents are, where they tend to occur, and when. Are there, for instance, periods of time, coinciding with political events or economic distress, when such violence tends to be concentrated?
Finally, the map relies on contributions from its audience. It can only grow when people begin to participate, add stories, and send contributions to our blog, ‘Thoughts’, where we try to grapple with the undefinable concepts of tolerance and intolerance. The platform developed by Timescape is very intuitive and easy to use, making it simple and quick to map incidents. Please join the movement and add a story!
Cambridge South Asia Watch is a group of staff and students at the University of Cambridge that attempts to foster debate on contemporary issues in South Asia. Members of this group have a diverse range of academic interests, ranging from law, politics, education, archaeology, gender, etc, primarily though not exclusively in a South Asian context. Justice Adda is a legal design platform that aims to produce content on law and social justice issues that is accessible, useful and usable. Timescape is a map-based storytelling platform, which enables groups of people to create and publish interactive maps.
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