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The history of cartography has since the 1970s
significantly expanded its disciplinary reach, its theoretical directions and
approaches, and its scholarship. This annotated bibliography is intended as a
guide to the extended field. It seeks to remind newcomers and established map
scholars alike of the field’s traditional concerns (and literatures) and to
inform them of its new directions and scholarship.
history of cartography, philosophy of cartography, historiography
of cartography, bibliography, empiricist paradigm, modernism, map analysis,
critical paradigm, semiotics, constructivism, poststructuralism, postmodernism,
academic cartography, map language, Denis Wood, J. B. (Brian) Harley,
indigenous cartographies, cartobibliography, imperialism, state formation,
nationalism, commerce, consumption
to the Discipline
General Histories of Cartography
and Theoretical Statements
4.1.The Empiricist Paradigm
4.1.1.The Analysis of Map Content
4.1.2.Academic Essays on the Nature of Maps
4.1.3.An “Internal” History of Cartography
4.1.4.Introducing Cartographic Context
the Empiricist Paradigm
Image and Map Language
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4.2.5.A Flawed Critique of Modern Cartography
4.3.1.Social Implications of Digital Cartographic
4.3.2.Spatial Construction, Spatial Processes, Spatial
Suggestive Works on Cartographic History
7.1.General Studies in
7.2.Maps and Commerce
7.3.Maps and Constructed
Images of Place, Space, and Identities
7.5.Cartography and the
(Early) Modern State
7.6.Colonial and Imperial
Cartographies 1: Early Modern Period
7.7.Colonial and Imperial
Cartographies 2: Modern Period
an Initial Reading List
Tools Useful for the History of Cartography
9.3.On-Line Indexes to
9.3.2.The Historical Literature
9.3.3.The Geographical Literature
Historical map studies have exploded since 1980 and now
reach across the humanities and social sciences. What had been an already
dispersed and diverse scholarly literature on the history of cartography has
become still more variegated and wide-ranging. The literature now transcends
disciplinary boundaries and has proliferated in several languages. The result
is a veritable iceberg of scholarship: only a small portion is ever directly
visible from any one disciplinary perspective. As a result, newcomers to the
field seem inevitably to miss the field’s “core” literature even as well-established
scholars can remain unaware of new and pertinent scholarship undertaken in
other disciplines. The primary goal of this annotated bibliography is therefore
to provide a broad-ranging overview to inform all scholars of cartographic
history, both new and established, of theoretical approaches and trends within
(mostly) the English-language literature.
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This bibliography cannot be comprehensive. Some areas of
scholarship—e.g., the intersections of maps and literature, especially in early
modern England; the cartographies associated with British India; “counter
mapping”—have become substantial arenas of research in their own right, almost
rivaling established subfields, such as cartobibliography and the cartometric
analysis of old maps, and now require their own dedicated bibliographies. The
present work is instead based on my own reading, research, and teaching
interests. It is therefore undeniably and unavoidably biased towards
Anglo-American studies. I undoubtedly omit many important and relevant texts
even as I include works which might seem to be of little interest to a wider
community of scholars. Reference should be made to section 9, which discusses several bibliographic tools
useful for identifying further literature in the history of cartography.
I intend to post annual revisions of this document to Coordinates.
I therefore welcome any suggestions for additions and corrections (please use
“bibliographic guide” within the subject line of any email messages). But
please appreciate that I cannot incorporate every suggestion. This document
will always be a selective and personal interpretation of the literature
rather than a comprehensive assessment of recent scholarship. Notices about new
publications should therefore also be sent directly to the Imago Mundi
bibliographer (currently Nick Millea, Map Librarian, Oxford
The bibliography is organized in a series of sections and
sub-sections. Individual works are organized in (generally) chronological order
within each section, except in the several parts of section 7, which are arranged alphabetically by author.
Finally, while I have done my best to adhere to the bibliographic style of the University
of Chicago Press, I do not claim to have necessarily succeeded!
I prepared the first version of this document as a handout
for participants in Tom Conley’s NEH-funded summer institute on “Cartography
and Literature in Early Modern France” (Houghton Library, Harvard University,
14 July 1998). I thereafter distributed it privately, making occasional
additions. With these additions, the bibliography became what I now think of as
1.1, which I contributed to the materials distributed for the conference
on map history held as part of Bernard Bailyn’s Atlantic History Seminar
(Harvard University, 24 April 1999). This version, too, was subsequently augmented
with occasional additions and distributed privately.
Version 2.0 evolved during 2005 when I
incorporated, at Tony Campbell’s suggestion, a much extended theoretical section (Section 4)
to supplement the now defunct “Theory and Interpretation” page of his Map History
gateway website. I submitted version 2.0 in February 2006 for publication in Coordinates.
The present version 2.1 is a further revision,
submitted in March 2007. Section 4 has been further reorganized,
in particular reorganizing and expanding the section on “empiricist
cartography” to separate out commentaries on cartography generally and specific
works on cartographic history.
“§” flags items and sections new to this version. Note
that many of the new items are those which I should have included in version
2.0, had I then only had sufficient time to write them up. And please also note
that I have still to find the time to write up many more of the entries that
should be here. The reader has my
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sincerest apologies; perhaps I’ll be able to
catch up by version 2.2.
I have of course been helped over the years by many people
in the preparation of this document, most obviously the scholars whose work I
have found so intellectually engaging and stimulating. I must also thank Tom
Conley, Bernard Bailyn, and Tony Campbell for the motivation to prepare and to
augment the bibliography.
I must thank several people for their help with the
preparation of version 2.1, whether suggesting works for inclusion, stimulating
the reworking of Section 4, or commenting on the additions: Karen Culcasi, Joel
Kovarsky, Ed Dahl, and Günter Schilder.
1. Basic Gateways to the Discipline
Map History “Gateway”:www.maphistory.info
The flourishing of the World-Wide Web and the
proliferation of websites with images of old maps has given the history of
cartography a prominent Internet presence. This meta-page provides links to a
large number of websites of particular relevance and quality. It provides
categorized lists of web sites which possess significant content and/or
imagery, including studies in cartographic history published online. It also
includes a link (under “Links & Gateways”)
to an historical subset of Oddens Bookmarks, the
principal listing of web-sites dealing with all aspects of cartography. The
site also contains important content, such as a listing of doctoral
dissertations in the history of cartography.
The History of Cartography.
Founding editors J. B. Harley and David Woodward. 6 vols. in 12 books. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1987- .
This monumental, multi-author project presents a
synthesis of research to date on cartographies across cultures and societies,
with the goal of creating a new basis from which future research will proceed.
Volumes published to date are:
1. Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and
Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, ed. J. B.
Harley and David Woodward (1987).
2.1. Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and
South Asian Societies, ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward (1992).
2.2. Cartography in the Traditional East and
Southeast Asian Societies, ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward (1994).
2.3. Cartography in the Traditional African,
American, Arctic, Australian, and Pacific (Begin Page 6) Societies , ed.
David Woodward and G. Malcolm Lewis (1998).
3. Cartography in the European Renaissance,
ed. David Woodward (2007). [2 parts]
Future volumes planned or in preparation are:
4. Cartography in the European Enlightenment,
ed. Matthew H. Edney and Mary S. Pedley. [2 parts]
5. Cartography in the Nineteenth Century. [2
6. Cartography in the Twentieth Century, ed.
Mark Monmonier. [2 parts]
Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History
of Cartography (1935- )
The key journal in the field, issued twice per year
since 2004. All but the most recent volumes are available through JSTOR, the
online Journal Storage project. (Even if libraries have not purchased the
component of JSTOR which includes Imago Mundi, individual subscribers to
the journal are permitted access on an individual basis.) In addition to
scholarly essays and book reviews, each issue also contains a bibliography of
recent publications in the field (searchable through JSTOR); since 1977, this
bibliography has been indexed.
Kretschmer, Ingrid, Johannes Dörflinger, and Franz Wawrik,
eds. Lexikon zur Geschichte der Kartographie von den Anfängen bis zum ersten
Weltkrieg. Section C of Enzyklopädie der Kartographie, series ed.
Erik Arnberger. 2 vols. Vienna: Franz Deuticke, 1986.
Although this work is in German, I include this
encyclopedia as an indispensable guide to cartography, especially in Europe and
after 1800. Each article is written by an acknowledged expert and is
accompanied by references.
Lowenthal, Mary Alice, ed. D9: Who’s Who in the History
of Cartography: An International Directory of Current Research. Tring,
Hertfordshire: Map Collector Publications, 1998.
A listing of scholars from across the disciplines
who are currently interested in map history; each scholar provides a listing of
their research interests and of their publications since the previous volume (D8,
1995). Previous volumes—issued at two- or three-year intervals—provide an
essential resource for tracking individual and group research projects. A new,
online directory (“D10”) is currently under development.
2. Single-Volume, General Histories of Cartography
2.1. Academic Histories
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The following works have constructed the intellectual
character of traditional cartographic history. That is to say, they are all
written from an empiricist/progressivist perspective and must accordingly be
used with care.
Bagrow, Leo. History of Cartography. Trans. D. L.
Paisley. Rev. and enl. R. A. Skelton. 2nd ed. Chicago: Precedent Publishing,
The classic, but now very outdated, general history
by the founder of Imago Mundi. Originally written before 1939, it was
not published until 1951. The first translation from German to English appeared
in 1960, Skelton’s revision and extension in 1964.
Brown, Lloyd A. The Story of Maps. New York, 1949.
Reprint, New York: Dover, 1979.
The only general cartographic history to pay close
attention to the mathematical aspects and large institutions of cartographic
history. Although seriously out of date, it remains in wide circulation.
Thrower, Norman J. W. Maps and Civilization:
Cartography in Culture and Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
Although, as the title suggests, this work does
include some discussion of the cartographic traditions of non-Western peoples,
it is very much an historical summary in the traditional mode. This work is
actually a second edition, with only few changes, of the original 1972 work
published under the title Maps and Man ....
2.2. Popular and Derivative Histories
The following works should be used only for background
reading and are rarely, if ever, admissible as sources.
Hodgkiss, Alan G. Understanding Maps: A Systematic
History of their Use and Development. Folkestone, Kent: Dawson, 1981.
Rather than following the more usual chronological
approach, Hodgkiss traces through the history of specific mapping genres. In
this respect, it is the most successful of the derivative histories.
Unfortunately each comparative essay is too brief to be anything more than a
useful introduction. Well illustrated.
Wilford, John Noble. The Mapmakers: The Story of the
Great Pioneers in Cartography from Antiquity to the Space Age. New York:
Vintage Books, 1982; reprinted 2001.
A very popular summary, this work is highly
derivative and very poorly referenced. (It especially draws upon Lloyd Brown’s The
Story of Maps.) It pays excessive attention to the “progress” of
cartography from an art to a science. The author is the principal science
correspondent of the New York Times and the book has the unmistakable
feel of journalistic (Begin Page 8) popular science writing.
Berthon, Simon, and Andrew Robinson. The Shape of the
World: The Mapping and Discovery of the Earth. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1991.
Based on a television series by Granada (UK) and
PBS, this book does not attempt a universal coverage for the topic, but opts
for ten particular episodes or themes. It is semi-popular in nature, for
obvious reasons; intellectually, it is highly indebted to Wilford’s problematic The Mapmakers.
Sobol, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius
Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker &
Hartley, Sarah. Mrs P’s Journey: The Remarkable Story of
the Woman Who Created the A-Z Map. London: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
Winchester, Simon. The Map that Changed the World: William
Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
Linklater, Andro. Measuring America: How an Untamed
Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy. New
York: Walker & Company, 2002.
These four works are among the better popular studies
on map history. The popular writing on maps was invigorated by the remarkable
success of Dava Sobol’s Longitude. These popular works have been well
researched and written, have greatly popularized the study of maps, and can be used
with great effect in the classroom. Yet it is always important to remember that
they have been written for a popular market and so necessarily take some
liberties with their subject matter. In particular, they commonly adopt the
popular myth of the lone genius as a hook on which to hang their accounts and
so gloss over important nuances.
2.3. Coffee-Table Books
Barber, Peter, ed. The Map Book. London: Weidenfeld
& Nicolson, 2005.
Ehrenberg, Ralph E. Mapping the World: An Illustrated
History of Cartography. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006.
The aesthetic and intellectual appeal of old maps
has, of course, long stimulated the production of coffee-table books which are wonderful
for providing images of maps, often reproduced in full color, but which make
little attempt at any analysis of those maps and their contexts. As a rule of
thumb, researchers should beware of any works in which pages of illustrations
equal or outnumber pages of text. The two works identified here constitute the
rare breed of coffee-table book with intellectual merit, although reference
should still be made to the scholarship on which such tertiary sources are
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Skelton, R. A. Maps: A Historical Survey of their Study
and Collecting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972.
A key study of the development of map collecting and
the associated study of early maps, by one of the most prominent cartographic
historians of the period 1940-1970. Published after Skelton’s death, it
includes a complete bibliography of his published works.
Harley, J. B. “Imago Mundi: The First Fifty Years
and the Next Ten.” Cartographica 23, no. 3 (1986): 1-15.
A broad overview and critical analysis of the
history of the only international journal in cartographic history and a key
institution in the discipline. Particular attention is given to the manner in
which the journal has defined the character of the field. (This is the text of
Harley’s presentation to the International Conference on the History of
Cartography, Ottawa, July 2005.)
Harley, J. B. “The Map and the
Development of the History of Cartography.” In The History of Cartography
1 (1987): 1-42 [complete reference].
This is a thorough account of the eighteenth- and
nineteenth-century origins of the history of cartography (among map collectors,
national map librarians, and historians of geography) and of attempts since
1945 to establish the subject as an independent discipline. It is essential
reading for any student seeking to understand the major phases in the field’s
Harley, J. B., and David Woodward. “Why Cartography Needs
its History.” The American Cartographer 16 (1989): 5-15.
A justification of the history of cartography from
the perspective of the academic discipline of cartography. Response to the
paper has been minimal, perhaps because the history of cartography has served a
mostly rhetorical role within academic cartography.
Edney, Matthew H. The Origins and Development of J. B.
Harley’s Cartographic Theories. Special issue of Cartographica 40,
nos. 1 & 2: Monograph 54. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.
A detailed analysis of Harley’s intellectual
interests that took him from an initial commitment to the empiricist paradigm
of cartography, through an interest in map use in the later 1970s, to
advocating a poststructuralist approach to map studies in the 1980s. It is, in
effect, a history of cartographic history as practiced in the Anglophone world
in the later 1900s and places the field in the context of broader intellectual
and academic developments. It includes a complete, classified bibliography of
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Edney, Matthew H. “Putting ‘Cartography’
into the History of Cartography: Arthur H. Robinson, David Woodward, and the
Creation of a Discipline." Cartographic Perspectives no. 51 (2005):
An analysis of a crucial, pre-Harleian stage in the
reconfiguration of the history of cartography, when academic cartographers
pursued studies not of the content of old maps but of past cartographic
technologies and techniques. Within the U.S.A., Robinson and Woodward were
central figures in this movement. Woodward was especially responsible for
reconfiguring academic cartography’s “internal” history into a humanistic field
of study in its own right.
Lewis, G. Malcolm. “Cartography, History of.” In Dictionary
of Human Geography, ed. R. J. Johnston, Derek Gregory, and David M. Smith,
48-53. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.
Woodward, David. “Cartography, History of.” In Dictionary
of Human Geography, ed. R. J. Johnston et al., 64-68. 4th ed. Oxford:
Edney, Matthew H. “Cartography, History of.” In Dictionary
of Human Geography, ed. Derek Gregory et al., forthcoming. 5th ed. Oxford:
Reference might also be made to these three overviews
of the history and nature of the history of cartography as an academic field of
study. They constitute three quite distinct takes on the field and are usefully
read in comparison with each other.
4. Methodological and
Methodological and theoretical works on cartography and
the history of cartography—remarkably few when compared with other academic
fields—are grouped here according to their fundamental conceptualization of the
nature of maps and their history. Reference should also be made to the many
substantive works which possess significant theoretical components and which
are listed in section 5 and section 7.
4.1. The Empiricist Paradigm
Properly speaking, the
empiricist paradigm is comprised of a complex web of beliefs, convictions, and
presumptions. At its core is the particular belief that the worth and quality
of maps are determined by the quantity and quality of their content, and that
maps are therefore properly evaluated in terms only of that conten
4.1.1: The Analysis of Map Content
For most of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth
centuries, detailed scholarly interest in old maps addressed maps’ informational
content. Two late statements of the methodological issues involved remain very
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Skelton, R. A. Looking at an Early Map. The Annual
Public Lecture on Books and Bibliography, University of Kansas,
October 1962. University of Kansas Publications, Library Series 17. Lawrence:
University of Kansas Press, 1965.
A very accessible summary of the basic caveats which
need to be borne in mind when looking at old maps. In particular, Skelton
highlights the problems implicit in equating specific portions of map content
to specific places on apparent visible resemblance alone, problems which plague
many interpretations of (for example) the putative depiction of Antarctica and
the Americas on early maps.
Harley, J. B. “The Evaluation of Early Maps: Towards a
Methodology.” Imago Mundi 22 (1968): 62-74.
A clear and fundamental outline of the issues
involved in the analysis of map content, both in terms of the internal
criticism of the map image itself and external criticism of placing the map
into its production context.
See also the chapter on map analysis and cartometry
in Blakemore and Harley, “Concepts in the History of Cartography” [complete reference] and the
detailed chapters in Buisseret, ed., From Sea Charts to Satellites [complete reference].
Essays on the Nature of Maps
The development after 1945 of cartography as an academic
field was focused on map design and production, especially of smaller-scale,
lower-resolution maps. In the 1960s and early 1970s, academic cartographers
sought to legitimate their field of inquiry as a proper science by the
deployment of numerous, and various, models of cartographic communication.
These models spawned a few monographs reflecting upon the nature of the field.
Eckert, Max. Die Kartenwissenschaft: Forschungen und
Grundlagen zu einer Kartographie als Wissenschaft. 2 vols. Berlin: Walter
de Gruyter, 1921-25.
In advocating for the academic study of cartographic
design, Eckert gave extensive consideration of the history of particular
aspects of cartography, notably thematic mapping. His goal was to place modern
cartography on a clear trend line of past progress pointing towards future
perfection in its practices. (A similar strategy was used by Eduard Imhof in
his account of relief depiction: Kartographische Geländedarstellung
[Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1965], reprinted as Cartographic Relief
Presentation, ed. and trans. H. J. Steward [New York: Walter de Gruyter,
Robinson, Arthur H. The Look of Maps: An Examination of
Cartographic Design. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1952.
Like Eckert, Robinson also relied upon an historical
perspective when advocating for (Begin Page 12) academic cartography. He argued that
cartographic practice had bifurcated in the early nineteenth century: the “substantive” component of data acquisition became the preserve of the engineer
and surveyor, and had made significant advances, while the production of
specialist maps by social scientists and other scholars had lagged behind; what
was therefore needed was a new, progressive science of cartographic design
emphasizing small-scale maps.
Guelke, Leonard, ed. The Nature of Cartographic
Communication. Cartographica Monograph, 19. Toronto: Department of
Geography, York University, 1977.
Guelke reprinted most of the crucial essays in which
academic cartographers (Ratajski, Kolácný, etc.) advanced models of
cartographic communication. Of greatest significance, in hindsight, was the
reprinting of Barbara Petchenik’s 1975 “Cognition in Cartography,” previously
circulated only in conference proceedings. Petchenik revealed that the
communication models were fundamentally flawed because they treated map readers
as passive recipients of the knowledge encoded by the map’s maker; in contrast,
she argued that map readers are cognitively able agents who actively create
knowledge from maps. Reference should also be made to Guelke’s own critique of
the communication models, originally published in Cartographica in 1976.
Robinson, Arthur H., and Barbara Bartz Petchenik. The
Nature of Maps: Essays Toward Understanding Maps and Mapping. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1976.
A wide-ranging and thoughtful study that sought to
provide an introduction to a “general theory of cartography” as a starting
point for the development of such a theory even as the communication models
collapsed in relevance. Concluding that only an approximate parallel can be
drawn between “maps” and “language,” Robinson and Petchenik drew on philosophy
and psychology to explain the undeniably seductive appeal of maps. Neglected by
most recent works, it is well-worth revisiting and contemplating.
Keates, J. S. Understanding Maps.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1982. London: Addison Wesley Longman, 1996,
Keates further developed Petchenik’s arguments that
map design must begin with an understanding of the map user, by considering
just how the user visually perceives a map, starting with how the eye-brain
system functions and working through more cognitive and psychological elements.
He then explored the implications of a semiotic approach to understanding maps
as sign systems before providing powerful criticism of the communication
Keates’ goal of outlining an objective practice of
map design was overturned somewhat by the attempts of artificial intelligence
designers to incorporate the subjective, artistic skills of practicing map
designers into automated map production systems. In the second edition of his
text, he therefore added sections considering the nature of cartography as an
art and of its integration into digital systems. At the same time, Keates
expanded his discussion of map (Begin Page 13) communication to comment on issues of rhetoric,
textuality, and social theory advanced by Harley and others. Keates saw
Harley’s work as interesting but largely irrelevant to his concerns with what
he understood to be the inherent individuality of the map design and map use
processes (refer Andrews, in section 4.2.4).
Head, C. Grant. “The Map as Natural Language: A Paradigm
for Understanding.” Cartographica 21, no. 1 (1984): 1-36.
Andrews, J. H. “Map and Language: A Metaphor Extended.” Cartographica
27, no. 1 (1990): 1-19.
Two attempts to reconceptualize maps as functioning
like verbal language, with grammar, syntax, parts of speech, etc. Ultimately,
both are unclear as to how to apply their proposed terminologies and they
Vasiliev, I., S. Freundschuh, D. M. Mark, G. D. Theisen,
and J. McAvoy. “What is a Map?” The Cartographic Journal 27 (1990):
An intriguing study that adopted ideas developed by
linguists to deal with people’s flexible classification processes (rather than
the rigid classifications usually formulated by researchers) to study what
people think maps are. I am unsure, however, that the research
methodology—which employs the psychological testing central to much map design
research—was properly designed to eliminate the researchers’ own fundamental
Fremlin, Gerald, and Arthur H. Robinson. “Maps as Mediated
Seeing.” Cartographica 35, nos. 1 & 2 (1998): Monograph 51.
An extended argument that construes maps—both
topographical and thematic—to be mediations between the phenomena mapped and
the map viewer as the basis for a comprehensive approach for developing a
“theory of maps.” In particular, Fremlin and Robinson replace the idea that
maps are a form of language with an analogy to the viewing of imagery; that is
to say, they argue that maps function through gestalt psychology and
that cartographic processes can be conceptualized as processes to enhance
clarity and comprehension. Much effort is given to distinguishing something
that is essentially a map from other representational devices (landscape,
globes, tromp-l’oeil, etc.). Ultimately, maps are treated as necessarily
and directly tied to the physical and social environments they map; as such,
Fremlin and Robinson adhere to cartography’s empiricist paradigm.
4.1.3. An “Internal” History of
The development of cartography as an academic field of
study relied upon the promotion of a history of the cartographic processes of design
and production. This internalist approach to cartographic history did not comprise
a particularly self-conscious movement, but it has produced some important,
Woodward, David. “The Study of the History of Cartography:
A Suggested Framework.” The American (Begin Page 14) Cartographer 1 (1974): 101-15.
An early attempt to delineate a discipline of the “history of cartography.” Woodward gave shape to the discipline by organizing
the existing and diverse literature on old maps around a tabular “framework”
inspired by academic cartography’s communication models. Woodward distinguished
between the traditional study of maps made of a region and the new study
of map making within a region; he also drew a related distinction
between the old study of map content and the new study of map form. In many
respects, Woodward’s ideas for a humanistic study of maps laid the foundation
for more explicitly theoretical approaches to cartography; Woodward’s
subsequent theoretical writings thus appear in section 4.3.2.
§ Harley, J. B. “The Map User in the Revolution.” In J. B.
Harley, Barbara Bartz Petchenik, and Lawrence W. Towner, Mapping the
American Revolutionary War, 79-110. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
Harley’s attempt to apply models of cartographic
communication to a specific historical issue: how eighteenth-century people
used maps during the American Revolution. In the process he exposed many of the
problems with the communication models, setting the stage for this adoption of
iconography (section 4.3).
Andrews, J. H. “What Was a Map? The Lexicographers Reply.”
Cartographica 33, no. 4 (1996): 1-11.
Andrews reviewed more than three hundred definitions
of “map” in dictionaries, encyclopedias, and textbooks (mostly
English-language) in order to understand how the word has been used since the
seventeenth century. See http://www.maphist.nl/discpapers.htm for the full list of definitions compiled by Andrews.
4.1.4. Introducing Cartographic Context
Although internalist histories have not questioned—and
have, in fact, tended to support—the precepts of the empiricist paradigm, they
have turned scholarly attention away from map content to cartographic
activities. This move had the truly beneficial effects of making historians
aware of the contexts within maps are made and of stressing the use of archival
materials rather than the maps themselves as the proper foundation for any cartographic
historical analysis. The result has the production of a number of very useful, empirical
studies, of which the following are exemplary. This very important genre of map
scholarship remains vibrant and has served as the necessary basis for later
critical scholarship (see Edney, “Putting ‘Cartography’ into the History of
Cartography” [complete reference]).
§ Woodward, David, ed. Five Centuries of Map Printing.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.
A collection of essays, originally presented as the
1972 series of Nebenzahl Lectures, that outline the history of the principal
technologies used to print maps in Europe and the West. An essential starting
point for anyone interested in the artefactual nature of printed maps.
§ Robinson, Arthur H. Early Thematic Mapping in the
History of Cartography. Chicago: (Begin Page 15) University of Chicago Press, 1982.
Robinson followed through with his understanding of
the modern history of cartography (section
4.2.1) with his own historical studies of the history of thematic mapping.
This crucial and innovative book provides a solid foundation for study of this
still somewhat neglected subject.
Monmonier, Mark. Technological Transition in Cartography.
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.
An important work within the internal history of
cartography promoted by academic cartography, with its stress not on the
traditional history of map content but on the development of cartographic
techniques and technologies. Monmonier describes five arenas of map making and
use (e.g., “location and navigation”) that each underwent significant
reconfiguration in the nineteenth and especially the twentieth centuries. Of
particular interest was the notice taken of the transition to digital
technologies that was then just beginning to take hold.
§ Schilder, Günter. Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica.
Planned in 10 vols. Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto, 1986- .
This is the preeminent exemplar of the post-1970 archivally
grounded approach to cartographic history. Schilder’s magnum opus,
projected as no less than ten volumes, addresses the cultures of map production
and consumption in the Netherlands during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. The portfolios of 1:1 facsimiles are accompanied by detailed essays
(bilingual, Dutch-English) that explain each map’s context, grounded in
extensive archival research.
Wallis, Helen, and Arthur H. Robinson,
eds. Cartographical Innovations: An International Handbook of Mapping Terms
to 1900. Tring, Hertfordshire: Map Collector Publications for the
International Cartographic Association, 1987.
This work exemplifies the internal approach to
cartographic history promoted by academic cartographies, emphasizing as it does
technical issues. Each essay explores the first appearance of a particular
technique, usually in either the Classical era or in early modern Europe.
Little attention is paid to the subsequent dissemination and general adoption
of each technique. The bibliographies are useful.
§ Woodward, David, ed. Art and Cartography: Six
Historical Essays. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
This collection of pioneering essays, based on the
1980 Nebenzahl Lectures, addressed a topic long of interest to academic
cartographers—the (Begin Page 16) interconnections between maps and art—without depending on
the traditional historical model in which the art of maps progressively gives
way to the science of maps. The six essays variously address the permutations
of maps as art, maps in art, art as maps, and art in maps. Of special note are
the papers by Samuel Edgerton and Svetlana Alpers (also published in her The
Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century [Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1983]) which proposed (conflicting) understandings of the
relationship between perspective and mapping in Renaissance Italy and Low
the Empiricist Paradigm
4.2.1. Map Image and Map Language
With the failure of the models of cartographic
communication, of the parallel to spoken language, and of the psychophysical
approach to map design (effectively moribund by the early 1980s: see Barbara
Bartz Petchenik, “A Map Maker’s Perspective on Map Design Research, 1950-1980,” in Graphic Communication and Design in
Contemporary Cartography, ed. D. R. F. Taylor [New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1983], 37-68), academic cartographers who were not hypnotized by
digital technologies increasingly turned to semiology/semiotics (the study of
sign systems) as a means to conceptualize maps. Some of this work was carried
out in historical terms. In the process, a loose appreciation developed for the
mechanisms by which maps can be manipulated to mislead (codifying earlier
concerns for ‘propaganda mapping’); this, in turn, led to some rather mild
statements about the potentially political nature of cartography and so the
need for map makers to act in an ethical manner.
Bertin, Jacques. Semiology of Graphics: Diagrams,
Networks, Maps. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983.
Originally published in French in 1973, Bertin
explored the graphic composition of maps and other images of graphic design.
His work provided the foundation of a new school of research in cartographic
design that emphasized the manipulation of visual variables. This school has
encouraged the consideration of the particular circumstances of each design
project and so has not sought to elucidate any universal laws of cartographic
For especially useful applications of Bertin’s
approach to map design, see Alan M. MacEachren, SOME Truth with Maps: A
Primer on Symbolization & Design (Washington, D.C.: Association of
American Geographers, 1994), and John Krygier and Denis Wood, Making Maps: A
Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS (New York: Guilford, 2005).
§ Schulz, Juergen. “Jacopo de’ Barbari’s
View of Venice: Map Making, City Views, and Moralized Cartography Before the
Year 1500.” Art Bulletin 60 (1978): 425-74.
Begin Page 17
This crucial essay undertook an iconological
investigation of de’ Barbari’s great urban view of 1500. Dismissing traditional
interpretations of the view as a functional document, Schulz delineated its
symbolic components and argued that it served a celebratory function, lauding
the power and glory of the Venetian Republic. Note that Schulz’s argument
depended upon distinguishing between (a) strictly factual and functional maps
and (b) maps with a further symbolic or didactic purpose. The result is a
two-tier system of cartographic meaning: factual and cultural/political. This
divide persists through the work of Harley (see below) and
others, but is not tenable within the post-structuralist positions that have
§ A later scholar who has maintained the
factual/symbolic divide is Howard Marchitello, in his “Political Maps: The
Production of Cartography and Chorography in Early Modern England,” in Cultural
Artifacts and the Production of Meaning: The Page, the Image, and the Body,
ed. Margaret J. M. Ezell and Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe (Ann Arbor: University
of Michigan Press, 1997), 13-40, and in his Narrative and Meaning in Early
Modern England: Browne’s Skull and Other Histories (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1997), esp. 63-123.
§ A study that significantly updates Schulz’s
original work is Deborah Howard, “Venice as a Dolphin: Further Investigations
into Jacopo de’ Barbari’s View,” Artibus et Historiae 18, no. 35 (1997):
Blakemore, Michael J., and J. B. Harley. “Concepts in the
History of Cartography: A Review and Perspective.” Ed. Edward H. Dahl. Cartographica
17, no. 4 (1980): Monograph 26.
In many ways the manifesto for a new, theoretically
informed discipline, “Concepts” presented a highly significant overview and
critique of traditional approaches and methodologies in cartographic history.
Blakemore and Harley particularly criticized cartographic historians for
structuring their studies according to three, unacknowledged, intellectual
frameworks: the “Darwinian,” “Old-is-Beautiful,” and “Nationalist” “paradigms.”
In their place, they argued for a “linguistic” approach to conceptualizing maps
and map making. They particularly advocated an iconological methodology (based
on Panofsky) for analyzing “map language.”
Those especially interested in this monograph should
also consult Edward H. Dahl, ed., “Concepts in the History of Cartography: Some
Responses, with the Authors’ Reply, Especially to Questions of Definition,” Cartographica
19, no. 1 (1982): 77-96.
Petchenik, Barbara Bartz. “Maps, Markets and Money: A Look
at the Economic Underpinnings of Cartography.” Cartographica 22, no. 3
Begin Page 18
One of three essays in which Petchenik reflected
upon key issues for cartographic practice generally ignored by academic
cartographers. Petchenik’s approach to the commercial underpinnings of “real
world” cartographic practice was pragmatic and called for the careful study of
market forces for both maps and for cartographic skills/personnel. Of special
interest is her attention not so much to map use but to the need for
maps, a point usually taken for granted by academic cartographers, and how map
need is a function of social affluence.
Axelsen, Bjørn, and Michael Jones. “Are all Maps Mental
Maps?” GeoJournal 14 (1987): 447-64.
An early recognition that maps are not as purely
factual and objective as they have been made out to be. If not, they must be
subjective in nature and represent the perceptions and ideals of their makers;
that is, they are “mental maps.”
Monmonier, Mark. How to Lie with Maps. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1991; 2nd ed., 1996.
A handy and widely popular text that seeks to build
cartographic literacy in the general, educated population. By explicitly
discussing how map design can be manipulated to promote particular images,
Monmonier implicitly educates his readers in good map design. The work treads a
fine balance between preserving cartography’s proper objectivity while
acknowledging the inherently subjective nature of map making. In this respect,
Monmonier owes much to J. K. Wright, “Map Makers are Human,” Geographical
Review 32 (1942): 527-44 (reprinted in Guelke, ed., Nature of
Cartographic Communication, 8-25 [complete reference]) and Wright’s formulation of
proper and decorous standards of cartographic practice in the face of overt
propaganda mapping by Nazi Germany. (Compare with Pickles, in section 4.3.2.)
MacEachren, Alan M. How Maps Work: Representation,
Visualization, and Design. New York: Guilford Press, 1995.
A wide-ranging study that sought to reestablish map
design studies on scientific grounds. It addressed both the biophysical and
cognitive processes of viewing maps; the semiotic processes by which readers
imbue a map with meaning; and the visualization processes by which maps are
used. MacEachren’s take on the study of maps as sign systems was heavily
informed by C. S. Peirce’s three-part composition of signs (signifier,
signified, referent); in fact, the book serves as a very useful and competent
primer on Peircean semiotics and its constituent elements of semantics,
syntactics, and pragmatics. As such, it is necessary reading vis-à-vis Denis
Wood’s advocacy of a Saussurian semiology (section 4.2.2).
Begin Page 19
Black, Jeremy. Maps and Politics. London: Reaktion
Books, 1997. Reprinted Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
Black seems uncertain whether to provide a critique
of the political arguments of Harley, Wood, and others, or to provide a primer
on map design strategies that gets beyond cartography’s implicit biases (as
Monmonier or, indeed, Wood). Theoretically, he remains wedded to an
individualist approach to cartography and to an objective/subjective divide
defined by empirical standards; pragmatically, he plays fast and loose with the
meaning of “politics” in order to deal with a very disparate set of issues.
4.2.2. Denis Wood
Denis Wood has provided a consistent critique—both of the
ideals of modern academic cartographers and of modern cartographic ideology—since
the late 1970s. His work is wide-ranging and influential, especially in North
American circles. J. H. Andrews’s “Organising Wonder: Map-Philosophical Issues
in the Writings of Denis Wood.” (M.Sc. thesis., Trinity College, Dublin, 1998)
reviews Wood’s main cartographic positions to that date (it can be consulted in
the British Library [maps 226.a.90]). See also entries in section 4.2.4.
Wood, Denis. “Now and Then: Comparisons of Ordinary
Americans’ Symbol Conventions with Those of Past Cartographers.” Prologue
9 (1977): 151-61.
Drawing on his training in the cognitive development
and spatial behavior of children, Wood proposed a startlingly innovative, deep
structure for cartographic representation. Specifically, he argued that the
manner in which children learn to draw hills on maps parallels the historical
development of hill signs; thus, ontogeny replicates phylogeny (or, to be more
precise, ethnogeny). P. D. A. Harvey used the argument as a way to organize his
history of topographical maps [complete
reference] and Wood would develop it further in his Power of Maps.
Unfortunately, the empirical foundations for Wood’s ethnogenesis of hill signs
Wood, Denis. “Introducing the Cartography of Reality.” In Humanistic
Geography: Prospects and Problems, ed. David Ley and Marwyn S. Samuels,
207-19. Chicago: Maaroufa Press, 1978.
Wood, Denis. “Cultured Symbols: Thoughts on the Cultural
Context of Cartographic Symbols.” Cartographica 21, no. 4 (1984): 9-37.
Wood, Denis. “Pleasure in the Idea: The Atlas as Narrative
Form.” Cartographica 24, no. 1 (1987): Monograph 36, 24-45.
In these three studies, Wood set out to puncture
what he understands to be (Begin Page 20) academic cartography’s fatuousness. With his
consciously un-academic (even anti-academic) prose style, he skewered the
academic field’s self-imposed restrictions concerning, respectively, map design
and map design research (too dry, too stultifying), the relation of the map to
the world (too dry, too pseudo-scientific), and map reading (too dry, too
factual). In its place, Wood advocated a discipline that is truly engaged with
its subject matter and not intent on defending some parody wrung dry of all
color and poetry.
Wood, Denis, with John Fels. The
Power of Maps. New York: Guilford, 1992.
A wide-ranging and seminal introduction to the
naturalization of maps within modern western culture. Emphasis is on the
situation of the later twentieth century, but is broadly applicable to the
1800s and 1900s. Wood’s perspective is a combination of three factors: (1) maps
as a form of communication; (2) individual spatial frameworks (so-called
‘mental maps’; see also J. M. Blaut, D. Stea, C. Spencer, and M. Blades,
“Mapping as a Cultural and Cognitive Universal,” Annals of the Association
of American Geographers 93 : 165-85); and (3) a broad analogy to
biological evolution. In my experience, students and other readers can find
Wood’s writing style to be distracting.
Several of the chapters in this work are reprints of
essays also published in Cartographica (and which I therefore do not list
separately here). In particular, chapter 5 reprints the truly important
introduction (“Designs on Signs”) by Wood and John Fels to a semiology of maps
(along Barthean lines) which was originally published in 1986. Their analysis
of a state road map is a particularly effective challenge to several of
academic cartography’s enshrined misconceptions of the nature of map
4.2.3. J. B. Harley
The principal figure in the “paradigm shift” in map
studies in the 1980s was J. B. Harley (see also section 3, section
4.1 ,section 4.3,
and section 5. In this
section I list what I take to be his most important essays; for more
information and a complete bibliography, see my monograph (cited in section 3).
Note that several of the later essays were reprinted in
J. B. Harley, The New Nature of Maps: Essays in the History of Cartography,
ed. Paul Laxton (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); this
collection was recently republished as La nueva naturaleza de los mapas:
Ensayos sobre la historia de la cartografía, trans. Leticia
García Cortés and Juan Carlos Rodríguez (Mexico City: Fondo de cultura
económica, 2005). An earlier, French-language collection of some essays is
Peter Gould and Antoine Bailly, eds., Le pouvoir des cartes: Brian Harley et
la cartographie (Paris: Anthropos, 1995).
Harley, J. B. “Maps, Knowledge, and
Power.” In The Iconography of Landscape: Essays on (Begin Page 21) the Symbolic
Representation, Design and Use of Past Environments, ed. Denis Cosgrove and
Stephen Daniels, 277-312. Cambridge Studies in Historical Geography, 9. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1988. Reprinted in New Nature of Maps,
Harley, J. B. “Silences and Secrecy: The Hidden Agenda of
Cartography in Early Modern Europe.” Imago Mundi 40 (1988): 57-76.
Reprinted in New Nature of Maps, 83-107.
Two landmark essays that introduced the history of
cartography to some of the ideas of Michel Foucault. The level of analysis in
both papers is not particularly great; they are best understood as
demonstration pieces. In the first, Harley presented a series of examples of
how maps and map making embodied various cultural ideologies and served as
tools of the modern state; in the second, he developed the question of knowledge/power
further in terms of the particular formation and reading of “white spaces” on
Harley, J. B. “Power and Legitimation in the English
Geographical Atlases of the Eighteenth Century.” In, Images of the World:
The Atlas Through History, ed. John A. Wolter and Ron E. Grim, 161-204. New
York: McGraw-Hill for the Library of Congress, 1997. Reprinted in New
Nature of Maps, 109-47.
This paper was originally presented in 1984 and
subsequently went through substantial revision until its final form in 1988
(although not published until 1997). It comprises an analysis of a particular
cartographic mode in terms of Harley’s conception of Foucault’s
power/knowledge. Harley drew a distinction between the “internal power” of maps
(their structuring and codification) and their “external power” (as ideological
Harley, J. B. “Deconstructing the Map.” Cartographica
26, no. 2 (1989): 1-20. Reprinted in New Nature of Maps, 149-68, and
with slight modifications in Writing Worlds: Discourse, Text, and Metaphor
in the Representation of Landscape, ed. Trevor J. Barnes and James S.
Duncan (London: Routledge, 1992), 231-47.
Perhaps the most famous of Harley’s theoretical
statements, it constitutes a highly polemical critique—merging Harley’s
established interest in Foucault with a new (and equally incomplete) interest
in Derridean deconstruction—that establishes modern maps to be totalizing
representations. Harley’s particular interest was to criticize modern academic
cartography more than to reflect on cartographic history. A crucial component
of this paper was the issue of how a map maker might act ethically, given the
power-relations inherent to the profession.
See also Edward H. Dahl, ed., “Responses to J. B.
Harley’s Article, ‘Deconstructing the Map,’ Published in the Last Issue of Cartographica (Volume 26, Number 2, Summer 1989, pp. 1-20),” Cartographica 26, nos. 3 & (Begin Page 22) 4 (1989): 89-127.
Harley, J. B. “Historical Geography and the Cartographic
Illusion.” Journal of Historical Geography 15 (1989): 80-91.
Perhaps the most successful of Harley’s later,
overtly poststructuralist essays. It works because of his focus on a particular
issue: the manner in which historical geographers have used maps—without
critical reflection—as a fundamental means to organize and display their data.
Of all Harley’s essays, this most nearly adopts a constructivist understanding
of cartographic representation.
4.2.4. Responses to
See also the second edition of Keates, Understanding
Maps [complete reference]
and my 2005 monograph (cited in section
Andrews, J. H. Meaning, Knowledge and Power in the Map
Philosophy of J. B. Harley. Trinity Papers in Geography, 6. Dublin:
Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin, 1994. Reprinted, with
modifications, as the introduction to Harley, New Nature of Maps, 1-32.
The only substantial assessment of Harley’s
theoretical ideas from the perspective of an avowedly empiricist historian.
Andrews engages in academic sleight-of-hand: although he claims to address
Harley’s theories, he actually only tackles their manifestations and does not
come to terms with Harley’s fundamental conceptions of maps and map making. Its
inclusion as the introduction to Harley’s New Nature of Maps has
confounded several reviewers.
Belyea, Barbara. “Images of Power: Derrida, Foucault,
Harley.” Cartographica 29, no. 2 (1992): 1-9.
A significant critique of Harley’s later arguments,
based on an extensive reading of Foucault and Derrida. Belyea argues, like
Wood, that Harley was too selective in his use of Foucault and Derrida so that
his theories were incomplete. Unlike Wood, Belyea is a poststructuralist.
Wood, Denis. “The Fine Line between Mapping and
Mapmaking.” Cartographica 30, no. 4 (1993): 50-60.
Wood convincingly argues that Harley’s later
theorizing failed because he was unable to adopt poststructuralist arguments
fully. Wood himself follows Roland Barthes in straddling the
structural/poststructural divide; most of his historical essays attempt a
cognitive/semiotic explanation of cartography’s underlying structures, but he
does at times wander into poststructural conceptions of discourse.
Begin Page 23
Wood, Denis. “The Map as a Kind of Talk: Brian Harley and
the Confabulation of the Inner and Outer Voice.” Visual Communication 1,
no. 2 (2002): 139-61.
An engaging review occasioned by the publication of
Harley’s New Nature of Maps, characterizing Harley’s work as recognizing
that the “inner voice” of the map maker and the “outer voice” of the patron are
intertwined. Wood extends this to a general discussion of the map as a
“discursive function.” Wood also has much to say on Harley’s passion and some
of the responses by academic cartographers of his critique.
§ 4.2.5. A
Flawed Critique of Modern Cartography
A number of scholars have followed or paralleled Harley’s
later criticisms of modern cartography as a fundamentally flawed technology.
Concerned with issues of political economy and social justice, often from a
politically radical perspective, these scholars understand modern cartography
to entail technologies that necessarily sustain the social surveillance and
inequalities inherent to the modern state, and therefore judge modern
cartography harshly. Such scholarship has taken the cartographic ideal of
mimetic representation—as it has developed within modern society after 1800—at
face value. Yet while academic cartographers have espoused and celebrated that
ideal, this particular brand of criticism has derided it. From this
perspective, all maps made to scale after 1500 are held to be totalizing texts and
are therefore to be rejected as culturally impoverished and sterile documents
that contribute nothing to how humans truly experience and understand space. In
this respect, modern maps are commonly compared unfavorably against what are taken
to be the more environmentally and phenomenologically sensitive maps made by
non-modern peoples. (For more on this, see the comments by Edwards, Writing, Geometry and Space, 1-15 [complete reference].) However, this overall position is
untenable once we properly delineate and understand the actually multiple characters
of modern maps and mapping. The following comprises just a selection of essays
that pursue this “hard critique”; many more might easily be adduced.
§ Harvey, David. “The Time and Space of the Enlightenment
Project.” In The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of
Cultural Change, 241-59. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989.
Harvey relies upon the modern ideal’s progressivist
historical narrative to support his argument of space-time compression: as
capitalism intensified, local, environmentally nuanced maps of local
places—which Harvey usefully calls “sensuous” maps—gave way before a more
abstracted, uniform, and increasingly globalized representation of geographical
space in the modern map. Setting aside all the problems with Harvey’s history,
his evidentiary deployment for cartography is fundamentally flawed by the
continuing existence in the modern world of a variety of sensuous
§ Harvey subsequently advanced an open and complex
understanding of the multiple sites (discourses, networks, and institutions) of
cartography and geography in his essay, “Cartographic Identities: Geographical
Knowledges under Globalization,” in Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical
Geography (London: Routledge, 2001), 208-33. Yet even here, with evident
sensitivity for the permutations of modern mapping, he remained bound (esp. p.
220-21) by a divide between the imaginative and personal (mental/cognitive) mappings
of non-modern or pre-modern societies and the absolute geometries of modern
Begin Page 24
§ Avery, Bruce. “The Subject of Imperial Geography.” In Prosthetic
Territories: Politics and Hypertechnologies, ed. Gabriel Brahm, Jr. and
Mark Driscoll, 55-70. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1995.
I cite this essay as an exemplar of the flawed evaluation
of maps and mapping practices, in which medieval mappaemundi are taken to stand for all non-modern maps (phenomenologically complex and inherently good) while
British maps of India at the end of the nineteenth century are taken to stand for all
modern maps (rationally oversimplified and inherently bad). This essay is
predicated on the presumption that it is meaningful to compare such otherwise
disparate, distinct, and chronologically and culturally distant forms of maps.
Blithely jumping from one to another, Avery argues that modern maps are
necessarily invalid forms of representation.
§ Escolar, Marcelo. “Exploration, Cartography and the
Modernization of State Power.” International Social Science Journal 49,
no. 151 (1997): 55-75.
A restatement of the traditional, progressivist
historical narrative, but retold with European states and empires as the
driving force behind all cartographic activities, based extensively on the
essays in Buisseret’s Monarchs, Ministers, and Maps [complete
reference]. While superficially adequate, this is nonetheless a highly
simplified account that reifies political economy’s view of maps as nefarious
§ Neocleous, Mark. “Off the Map: On Violence and
Cartography.” European Journal of Social Theory 6, no. 4 (2003): 409-25.
This very handy and competent primer on the
construction of violence as the preserve of the modern state, and so on the
ideological signification of “terrorism,” is offset by a discussion of
“cartographic violence” that rests on the harsh critique of modern cartography
as necessarily and solely a tool of the modern state. I would argue in contrast
that the modern cartographic ideal is in fact a creation of modern Western
imperialism, which explains the apparently intimate connection of mapping to
violence, but which also requires us to look (Begin Page 25) beyond this narrow conception of
maps and mapping to all kinds of modern activities.
§ Curry, Michael R. “Toward a Geography of a World without
Maps: Lessons from Ptolemy and Postal Codes.” Annals of the Association of
American Geographers 95, no. 3 (2005): 680-91.
For the most part, this essay is a very useful
reminder that the space/place dichotomy, about which so much thought has been
expended in recent decades, is itself a discursive construct. Curry turns to
older understandings of topos (local), choros (region), and geos (earth) that he identifies (a) as varieties of “place” and (b) as being
sustained through a variety of ways of knowing, storing, and communicating
knowledge. This is all well and good. But, in the process, Curry sets up “the
map and the data storage device” as constitutive solely of “space”; geographers
must therefore discard them if they are ever to adopt more complex
understandings of place otherwise obscured by an overreliance on concepts and
metaphors of space. It must be observed that maps were in fact crucial elements
in the discursive constitution of all three place conceptions, both in the
early modern period and today: maps do not need to be discarded.
4.3. The Critical Paradigm
4.3.1: Social Implications of
Digital Cartographic Technologies
Stemming in particular from Harley’s critique of modern
cartography, a number of scholars have engaged at length with the social
implications of GIS (Geographical Information Systems/Science) and other
digital technologies of relevance to modern cartography. This is a huge area
that, truth be told, I have stayed away from in order to preserve my sanity!
Studies of interest include, but are by no means limited to:
Pickles, John, ed. Ground Truth: The Social
Implications of Geographic Information Systems. New York: Guilford, 1995.
A collection of ground-breaking essays that explored
several aspects of the interrelations between GIS and society as a whole. Most
of the essays are critical considerations of the social-ethical and discursive
conditions of GIS, with the ways in which GIS inevitably promotes social
inequalities even as it is staged as a necessarily neutral or inclusive,
democratic phenomenon; in this, the essays extend and develop upon Harley’s
strong critique of modern cartographic practices. The final essay, however, is
a case study of an attempt to implement a “participatory GIS” and so points to
the new trajectory of a critically minded cartographic practice.
Begin Page 26
Crampton, Jeremy W. “Maps as Social Constructions: Power,
Communication and Visualization.” Progress in Human Geography 25, no. 2
Crampton, Jeremy W. “Cartographic Rationality and the
Politics of Geosurveillance and Security.” Cartography and Geographic
Information Science 30 (2003): 135-48.
Crampton, Jeremy W. The Political Mapping of Cyberspace.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
A series of studies that have asked significant
questions about the interrelations of cartographic digital technologies and
their fundamental politics, building on a wide range of themes from the
construction of the self to the digital divide to ethical behavior to the very
nature of spatial knowledge. Such a range of questions inevitably requires
Crampton to draw on a number of theorists, although his primary guide is Michel
Foucault and in particular the concept of power/knowledge.
§ Harris, Leila, and Mark Harrower, eds. Critical
Cartographies. Special issue of ACME: An International E-Journal for
Critical Geographies 4, no. 1 (2006).
Several essays, each with interesting
bibliographies, reviewing various elements of alternative and critical
approaches to the practice of cartography. Several of the essays deal with the
huge topic of “counter mapping,” which is to say mapping by indigenous or other
local peoples in resistance to dominant states, as well as of the social
implications of GIS and digital technologies generally. Of particular relevance
is Jeremy W. Crampton and John B. Krygier, “An Introduction to Critical
Cartography,” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies
<http://www.acme-journal.org/> 4, no. 1 (2006): 11-33.
Construction, Spatial, Processes, Spatial Politics
Reference must also be made to the several essays
in section 5, on indigenous
cartographies, that adopted critical perspectives as well as ethnographic
perspectives to question the presumptions of the empiricist paradigm.
Rabasa, José. “Allegories of the Atlas.” In Europe
and its Others: Proceedings of the Essex Conference on the
Sociology of Literature, July 1984, ed. Francis Barker et al.,
2:1-16. 2 vols. Colchester: University of Essex, 1985.
Bann, Stephen. “The Truth in Mapping.” Word & Image
4, no. 2 (1988): 498-509.
Huggan, Graham. “Decolonizing the Map: Post-Colonialism,
Post-Structuralism and the Cartographic Connection.” Ariel 20, no. 4
Begin Page 27
These three essays represent an initial engagement
of literary and cultural studies with maps as actual artefacts rather than as
metaphors for cultural practices and representations; as such, they served as a
vehicle to introduce poststructuralist ideas to map historians, including
Harley. Following Paul de Man, Rabasa read Mercator’s Atlas to be an
essentially ironic work, promoting an open conception of geographical knowledge
within a closed format. Bann continued the ironic mode with an intriguing study
of how maps can serve to undercut and subvert their ostensible truth claims.
Huggan drew on the postcolonial application of mimesis as the foundation of
colonial discourse, as defined by Edward Said and Homi Bhabha, to argue that
the image of maps as “uniform” and “coherent” is itself a creation of colonial
discourse. These are all themes which have yet to be fully explicated.
Turnbull, David. Maps are
Territories: Science is an Atlas: A Portfolio of Exhibits. Geelong, Victoria:
Deakin University, 1989. Reprinted, Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
A critical, constructivist examination of maps,
mapping, and map making, in which cartography serves as a vehicle to explore
broad issues in the sociology of knowledge. Its examples are drawn mostly from Australia,
as it was developed there as a university text for a program in the sociology
of science. In particular, the spatial experiences and conceptions of
Australian Aboriginals are contrasted with those of Europeans to argue for the
cultural roots of all knowledge.
See also Turnbull’s Masons, Tricksters and
Cartographers: Comparative Studies in the Sociology of Scientific and
Indigenous Knowledge (Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 2000).
Anderson, Benedict. “Census, Map,
Museum.” In Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and
Spread of Nationalism, 163-85. 2nd (revised) ed. London: Verso, 1991.
In the revised edition of a crucial work on the idea
of nations as comprising “imagined communities,” using the colonial and post-colonial
experience of southeast Asian nations as his case study, Anderson added this
chapter to discuss three institutional mechanisms whereby communities could
first be imagined and then imagine themselves. The section on maps was indebted
to Winichakul’s doctoral dissertation on the changing cartographies of the
geo-body of Thailand (later published as Siam Mapped [complete reference]). In addition
to the question of the role of systematic topographic surveys as a tool of
state control over its territory, Anderson raised the fundamentally important
issue of the “logo map,” the image of a territorial outline that is repeated
through print and other visual media and becomes a powerful icon, if not totem,
Begin Page 28
Pickles, John. “Texts, Hermeneutics and Propaganda Maps.”
In Writing Worlds: Discourse, Text and Metaphor in the Representation of
Landscape, ed. Trevor J. Barnes and James S. Duncan, 193-230. London:
Pickles presents a very useful critique of the empiricist
ideology of modern cartography in developing a conceptual approach to
propaganda maps. Of key interest is his use of hermeneutics to explore the
issue of the discursive functioning of propaganda—and, indeed, all maps—through
the repeated exposure of an audience to (cartographic) images and the
reaffirmation and reconfiguration of existing beliefs.
Brealey, Kenneth G. “Networks of Power: Cartography as
Ideology.” Western Geography 3 (1993): 15-50.
Despite his agreement with the aims of the critical
paradigm, Brealey found most of the early statements (and many since, I would
add) as not dealing effectively with issues of territoriality. He accordingly
argued, in large part from the work of the sociologist Michael Mann, that maps
are ideological constructions. In this, Brealey is one of the first to expound
a properly complex analysis of cartography as comprising sets of inherently
discursive practices. Brealey works through his argument by reference to the
three touchstones of the early critical paradigm: medieval mappaemundi,
GIS, and mapping by indigenous peoples.
Edney, Matthew H. “Cartography without ‘Progress’:
Reinterpreting the Nature and Historical Development of Mapmaking.” Cartographica
30, nos. 2&3 (1993): 54-68.
A critique of the empiricist foundations of modern
cartography and of the progressivist conception of cartography’s past. This
paper proposes an alternative conception of ‘cartographic modes’ which directs
attention towards complexes of technological, social, and cultural factors in the
construction and consumption of geographic/cartographic knowledge.
For an early “worked example” of cartographic modes,
see also Edney, “Cartography: Disciplinary History,” in Sciences of the
Earth: An Encyclopedia of Events, People and Phenomena, ed. Gregory A.
Good, 2 vols. (New York: Garland, 1998), 1:81-85.
§ Krygier, John B. “Cartography as an Art and a Science?” The
Cartographic Journal 32 (1995): 3-10.
succinct statement of the problems associated with the traditional dualism that
cartography is at once an “art” and a “science,” even though this same claim is
(Begin Page 29) underpinned by an historical progression in which the “art” is progressively
stripped away. In particular, the terms themselves have never been properly
defined and have thus served as a smoke-screen for modern cartographic ideals.
Krygier suggests that a number of approaches—all of which treat mapping as a
process—offer more appropriate and valid understandings of the nature of
King, Geoff. Mapping Reality: An Exploration of Cultural
Cartographies. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996.
A rather frustrating text that considers the many
interconnections of “mapping” and society and culture but which does not, in my
opinion, really get to grips with its subject. Although King’s argument is
itself useful—that the map/territory relationship has always been
arbitrary—he is insufficiently rigorous and lacks the pithy turn of phrase
which would make this a quotable work.
Paulston, Rolland G., ed. Social
Cartography: Mapping Ways of Seeing Social and Educational Change.
Garland Reference Library of Social Science, 1,024; Reference Books in
International Education, 36. New York: Garland, 1996.
An intriguing collection of essays that apply to a
variety of phenomena the idea that “mapping”—the making sense of the world—is
an ineluctably social practice and not an unproblematic technique. While there
is little here of an overtly cartographic nature, although the various
commentaries on Harley and others are illuminating, it demonstrates the epistemological
range and power of the “mapping metaphor” as it has been used in a variety of
“Theoretical Aspects of the History of Cartography: A
Discussion of Concepts, Approaches and New Directions.” Imago Mundi 48
A suite of essays originally presented in a special
session at the International Conference in the History of Cartography, Vienna,
1995, by Matthew Edney (“Theory and the History of Cartography”), Christian
Jacob (“Toward a Cultural History of Cartography”), and Catherine Delano Smith
(“Why Theory in the History of Cartography”). Jacob promotes a constructivist
understanding of maps and geographical knowledge; Delano Smith addresses the
nature of “history” and the requirement to pursue theory; Edney lays out the
unrecognized theories that have shaped studies in cartographic history and also
argues for a constructivist approach.
Casti, Emanuela. Reality as Representation: The
Semiotics of Cartography and the Generation of Meaning. Trans.
Jeremy Scott. Bergamo, Italy: Bergamo University Press, 2000. (Reprinted from L’ordine
del mondo e la sua reppresentazione: Semiosi cartografica e autoreferenza
[Milan: Unicopli, 1998].)
Begin Page 30
An interesting and valuable essay on the formal
semiotic analysis of maps, which works through the formulation of significance
through the semantics (production and accumulation of meaning), syntactics
(interconnected system of communication), and pragmatics (or praxis;
interpretation and use) of the map. In this, Casti builds upon and develops the
post-war academic emphasis on cartographic communication to establish maps to
be integral components of territorialization (the intellectual appropriation of
territory). A difficult translation unfortunately contributes to the book’s
§ See also Casti’s “Towards a Theory of
Interpretation: Cartographic Semiosis,” Cartographica 40, no. 3 (2005):
Woodward, David, Catherine Delano Smith,
and Cordell D. K. Yee. Plantejaments i Objectius d’una Història Universal de
la Cartografia / Approaches and Challenges in a Worldwide History of
Cartography. Cicle de conferències sobre Història de la Cartografia,
11. Barcelona: Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya, 2001.
A collection of reflective essays (all in English)
on several theoretical and interpretive aspects of cartographic history: on the
multi-volume History of Cartography project and the prospect for a “world” history of cartography; on analyzing maps as artefacts and as images;
on understanding maps as social texts; and, on challenges for the future of the
field. All the essays are useful and thought-provoking.
Piper, Karen. Cartographic Fictions: Maps, Race, and
Identity. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002.
A convincing study of the inhabitant of modern,
western society as a “cartographic cyborg,” which is to say as someone so
thoroughly intertwined with mapping technologies that it is impossible to say,
in terms of knowledge practices, where embodied knowledge ends and
technological knowledge begins. Piper goes far beyond the obvious analysis of
the modern dependency on maps (and GIS) as spatial instruments to consider the
implications of that dependency for the construction of gendered and racial
identities within popular culture.
Pickles, John. A History of Spaces: Cartographic
Reason, Mapping and the Geo-Coded World. London: Routledge, 2004.
This is an ambitious and largely successful (in its
relatively small space) attempt to integrate several strands of theory in both
human geography and cartography. Very wide-ranging, it nonetheless focuses on
the ideology of modern cartography rather than mapping practices in their
historical variety. Pickles approaches the subject by means of a Foucauldian
genealogy, tracing the (Begin Page 31) relations among institutions, discourses, and practices
to discern the multiple constructions of modern cartography. In the process,
Pickles reviews a great deal of the work that has been accomplished on the
concepts of maps and cartography.
§ Del Casino, Vincent J., Jr., and Stephen P. Hanna.
“Beyond the ‘Binaries’: A Methodological Intervention for Interrogating Maps as
Representational Practices.” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical
Geographies <http://www.acme-journal.org/> 4, no. 1 (2006): 34-56.
important essay makes a strong case for avoiding the traditional binary
oppositions that haunt conceptions of cartography. To name just three such
binaries, the authors point out that if we accept that the meaning of a map is
reestablished each time it is read, then it becomes impossible to draw a hard
and fast line between map production and consumption, author and reader, and
most importantly representation and practice. Del Casino and Hannah therefore
present a view of cartography as inherently “messy.” In the process they begin
to deal with the “non-representational theory” advocated by Nigel Thrift and
suggest several significant limitations.
Jacob, Christian. The Sovereign Map: Theoretical
Approaches in Cartography throughout History. Trans. Tom Conley. Ed. Edward
H. Dahl. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. [Originally
published as L’Empire des cartes: Approche théorique de la cartographie à
travers l’histoire (Paris: Bibliothèque Albin Michel, 1992).]
A compelling and poetic reconsideration of the
nature of maps and their history. Jacob takes nothing for granted, not even the
practices of map folding, in order to apply a truly fresh eye to these
all-too-familiar and seemingly mundane images. (He properly describes his
approach as phenomenological in nature.) In the process, he covers extensive
intellectual ground, from Aristophanes to Jules Verne, from the Museum at Alexandria
to modern national mapping agencies. The result is a multilayered vision of the
architecture, rhetoricity, materiality, and plasticity of maps and of the
rhythms and discontinuities of their history. Essential reading.
5. Indigenous Cartographies
A key component in the critique of the modern, empiricist
paradigm of cartography has been the attempt to understand mapping practices in
non-western cultures. Much of the work has been undertaken in an
anthropological vein, studying indigenous cartographies on their own terms.
However, much has also been done to compare different cartographic cultures
explicitly. A further element of special interest to historians of discovery as
well as to cultural and cartographic historians, is the analysis of
western/indigenous contact processes and their effects on knowledge and maps;
this is especially important because most indigenous
(Begin Page 32
) cartographic materials
have survived only through the contact process. There is a growing literature,
especially with regard to North American contexts, which cannot be listed here
in its entirety. Instead, I provide what I think are the most significant
essays, especially in terms of our theoretical understanding of maps and map
making, and the bibliographic entry points.
Reference must also be made to the first two volumes
(i.e., four books) of The History of Cartography [complete reference], Turnbull’s Maps
are Territories [complete
reference], and Mundy’s Mapping of New Spain [complete reference].
De Vorsey, Louis, Jr. “American Indians and the Early
Mapping of the Southeast.” In William P. Cumming, The Southeast in Early
Maps, 65-98. 3rd ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
This general overview of the interactions between
English colonists and indigenous peoples, in the area south of Virginia,
includes a useful list of diagnostics for identifying indigenous information in
Harley, J. B. “New England Cartography and the Native
Americans.” In American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in
the Land of Norumbega, ed. Emerson W. Baker et
al., 287-313. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994. Reprinted in The
New Nature of Maps, 169-95.
Harley, J. B. “Rereading the Maps of the Columbian
Encounter.” Ed. Karl W. Butzer and William M. Denevan. Annals of the
Association of American Geographers 82 (1992): 522-36.
Two posthumously published essays on the
interactions of indigenous peoples and European adventurers and settlers. Both
are primarily concerned with the ideological character of European mapping
practices, but both also address issues of “native resistance” to the European
imposition on, and appropriation of, the Americas.
Lewis, G. Malcolm, ed. Cartographic Encounters:
Perspectives on Native American Mapmaking and Map Use. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1998.
A fundamental problem in studying Native American
map making is that few “pure” artefacts have survived; almost all indigenous
maps were either produced at the behest of, or were collected by, Europeans.
The study of Native American map making is thus inseparable from the conditions
and circumstances of the “encounter” between Europeans and Native Americans.
These essays, most originating in the 1993 Nebenzahl lectures, include an
extensive bibliographic review.
Orlove, Benjamin. “Mapping Reeds and Reading Maps: The
Politics of Representation in Lake Titicaca.” American Ethnologist 18,
no. 1 (1991): 3-38.
Begin Page 33
Orlove, Benjamin. “The Ethnography of
Maps: The Cultural and Social Contexts of Cartographic Representation in Peru.”
Cartographica 30, no.1 (1993): 29-46.
These essays direct attention not only to the
socially induced differences in map function, map production, and map use, but
also to what Orlove calls the “ethnography” of map reading. His particular
study analyzes the differences between the cartographic culture and practices
of Andean peasants and Peruvian bureaucrats. These are two wonderful essays to
bring home the idea of differing cultural expectations about the nature of
Rundstrom, Robert A. “Mapping, Postmodernism, Indigenous
People, and the Changing Direction of North American Cartography.” Cartographica
28, no. 2 (1991): 1-12.
A key essay in using the lessons posed by an
understanding of indigenous cartographies to criticize and re-examine western
cartographies. Of particular relevance is Rundstrom’s distinction between
“inscriptive” and “incorporative” cultures and the implications for the
understanding of the representation of spatial knowledge in each.
A fundamental component of research in the history of
cartography is the comprehensive “cartobibliography.” Although often
misunderstood as the preserve of obsessive librarians and scholar-collectors,
detailed listings of maps are essential for understanding the full scope of any
research project. Published cartobibliographies are mostly organized by region
or by archival collection, but some focus on the work of an individual
cartographer or a period of map production. Robert Karrow has compiled an
extensive and very useful bibliography of cartobibliographies.
Reference might also be made to Karrow’s “The Role of Cartobibliography in the
History of Cartography,” Bulletin of the
Association of Canadian Map Libraries, no. 57 (1985): 1-13. Three works
demonstrate the high level of scholarship that can be achieved in
Cumming, William P. The Southeast in Early Maps.
Ed. Louis De Vorsey, Jr. 3rd ed. Chapel Hill: University
of North Carolina Press, 1998.
A classic work, newly updated by the present expert
on the mapping of the American Southeast. De Vorsey has added those maps that
have come to light since the second edition (published in 1962), has expanded
the references and illustrations, and has incorporated new research into the
map descriptions. More importantly, he has added an essay on the interactions
between Native Americans and colonial settlers, and the significance of those
interactions for the construction of geographical information. A key element in
Cumming’s initial plan for the work was the inclusion of both manuscript and
Begin Page 34
Karrow, Robert W. Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century
and Their Maps: Bio–Bibliographies of the Cartographers of Abraham Ortelius,
1570. Chicago: Speculum Orbis Press for The Newberry Library, 1993.
Now the starting point for any research into
any of the map makers whose work was used for the first edition of the first ‘modern atlas’: Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570). It includes a
thorough bibliography of the secondary literature and is very well indexed.
This work defines the standard for all new biographical dictionaries and
cartobibliographical studies in the history of cartography.
Krogt, Peter van der. Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici.
10 vols. ’t Goy-Houten, Netherlands: HES Publishers, 1997- .
This work extensively revises Cornelis Koeman’s Atlantes
Neerlandici (1967-71) and provides a thorough bibliographic analysis of
atlases published in the Netherlands and of their constituent maps. It
establishes the standard for understanding the complex publication history of
7. Significant or Suggestive Works on Cartographic History
This section comprises an admittedly idiosyncratic list
of those works—in addition to those mentioned above—which I think are
significant because they have expanded the scope of the field, have provided
new insights, have proven useful in my teaching, or seem to me to be exemplary
models for doing cartographic history. The list is rather overwhelming, so I
have organized it by topical category. Please note, however, that these
categories are not mutually exclusive and all should be reviewed.
7.1. General Studies in Cartographic History
§ Akerman, James R., ed. Cartographies of Travel and
Navigation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
The published essays from the 1996 Nebenzahl
Lectures reconsider the relationships of navigation and travel to mapping. The
empiricist paradigm rests, of course, on the belief that maps are functional
and that their function is to guide people through space. These essays consider
both the manner in which maps have—and have not—contributed to travel and
navigation (according to period and technology) and also the significance of
maps overtly intended for travel for other aspects of human life.
Of especial importance is Catherine Delano Smith’s
opening chapter, “Milieus (Begin Page 35) of Mobility,” which reexamines the functional and
social interconnections between mobility, itineraries, and maps.
Buisseret, David, ed. From Sea Charts to Satellite
Images: Interpreting North American History through Maps. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1990.
A very useful collection of brief essays on
different genres of old maps of relevance to U.S. and Canadian history. Each
essay lays out how historians can interpret those maps and each provides
several examples. In the introduction—“Text and Contexts in the Interpretation
of Early Maps” (3-15), reprinted in Harley, New Nature of Maps (33-49)—J. B. Harley blended the empiricist principles of internal and external
map criticism (see section 4.1)
with his more recent forays into iconography and Foucauldian philosophy; the result
is a compelling argument to treat maps as cultural documents, but one that was
actually at odds with the general state of his theoretical concerns (see section 4.5).
Casey, Edward S. Representing Place: Landscape Painting
and Maps. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.
A wide-ranging excursus by a philosopher on the
representation of “place” and on the intersections of landscape imagery and
topographical mapping. Although very much rooted in the early modern era, it has
much of relevance for later topographical imagery. The one objection to Casey's approach is that he
considers the modern cartographic ideal (topographical mapping is the epitome
and exemplar of cartography) to be an historical and cultural universal.
Cosgrove, Denis. Apollo’s Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy
of the Earth in the Western Imagination. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
An ambitious and rewarding history of the (often
competing) symbolic meanings of the globe, and of globalism, in European
culture, as emblems of knowledge, power, profanity, and terrestrial and human
unity. That is, this is a book about the image of the globe, and not about
globes themselves. Most of the book addresses early modern Europe, with
chapters on the mobilization of globes in poetry, in religion, and as emblems,
etc.; the three final chapters cover the eras after 1700.
Cosgrove, Denis, ed. Mappings. London: Reaktion
An important collection of essays which focus on the
graphic constitution of spatial knowledge—on “acts of visualizing,
conceptualizing, recording, representing and creating spaces”—in the European
cultural tradition, from ancient Alexandria to the twentieth century. Although
the essays’ different (Begin Page 36) cultural and social contexts give little common ground between
the essays, they all are fundamentally concerned with the aesthetics of graphic
understanding. The result is a rich celebration of the complexity and variety
Harvey, P. D. A. The History of
Topographical Maps: Symbols, Pictures and Surveys. London: Thames and Hudson,
Harvey’s central concern is with the formation of
what is recognized today as a map: constructed to scale from an abstract
perspective (the “view from nowhere”). To trace the development of this concept
from prehistory to the early modern era, Harvey adapted Denis Wood’s
structuralist sequencing of relief depiction (profile, oblique, plan) to write
a broad-brush macro-history of topographic maps as developing from symbols to
pictures to surveys. For the time it was written, Harvey considered a truly
wide range of materials from across human cultures. The result is a remarkable,
if not entirely convincing, study.
7.2. Maps, Trade, and Consumption
§ Delano Smith, Catherine. “For Whom the Map Speaks:
Recognising the Reader.” In Mappæ Antiquæ: Liber Amicorum Günter Schilder.
Essays on the occasion of his 65th birthday, ed. Paula van Gestel-van het
Schip and Peter van der Krogt, 627-36.’t Goy-Houten, Neth.: HES & De Graaf
§ Delano Smith, Catherine. “Map Ownership in
Sixteenth-Century Cambridge: The Evidence of Probate Inventories.” Imago
Mundi 47 (1995): 67-93.
Two studies—complemented by Delano Smith’s essays on
“maps and map literacy” in Woodward, Delano Smith, and Yee, Plantejaments i
Objectius d’una Història Universal de la Cartografia (2001) [full ref]—that direct our attention to the reader and
consumer of maps, and especially the cheaper “small maps” that more people
would have seen than the large and ornate works of high art that historians of
cartography tend to emphasize.
§ Groot, Erlend de. The World of a Seventeenth-Century
Collector: The Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem. Trans. Andrew McCormick. Vol. 7 of
Peter van der Krogt and Erlend de Groot, The Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem of the
Austrian National Library: Descriptive Catalogue. ’t Goy-Houten: HES &
De Graaf, 2006.
is a fascinating and thorough analysis, undertaken as a doctoral dissertation
in art history, of the life and work of one collector who assembled a
stupendously large atlas. There is a desperate need for more such substantial studies,
and not only of remarkable collectors, to explore the world of consumption. The
world of “small” maps and small collectors needs to be (Begin Page 37) examined to understand
the social and geographical reach of cartographic imagery in different periods.
Mukerji, Chandra. “A New World-Picture: Maps as Capital
Goods for the Modern World System.” In Mukerji, From Graven Images: Patterns
of Modern Materialism, 79-130. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.
In her analysis of the co-evolution of ascetic
capitalism and hedonistic consumerism in early modern Europe, Mukerji uses
printed maps, charts, and geographical texts as her example of “capital goods”
which served to promote overseas trade and state formation, two of the three
basic elements identified by Immanuel Wallerstein as turning western Europe
into the stable platform of the capitalist “world system.” In this, Mukerji
extended the (to my mind dubious) arguments of Marshall McLuhan and Elizabeth Eisenstein
on the social effects of print. It must also be noted that Mukerji treats maps
as entirely instrumental devices and does not really consider their
simultaneous function as consumer goods.
Pedley, Mary. The Commerce of Cartography: Making and
Marketing Maps in Eighteenth-Century France and England.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
The financial and commercial aspects of cartography
have been the subject of a great deal of precise, empirical research: in these
published versions of her 2001 Nebenzahl Lectures, Pedley brings much of that
work together in an amazing and well-written synthesis covering English and
French cartography in the eighteenth century. (There is a new chapter for the
book, following through the preparation of Blaskowitz’s map of Narragansett Bay
and its derivatives as a case study in cost and consumption.) This is required
reading for anyone interested in the economic underpinnings of cartography.
Woodward, David. Maps as Prints in the Italian
Renaissance: Makers, Distributors & Consumers. Panizzi Lectures, 1995. London:
The British Library, 1996.
This small work is noteworthy for the serious
consideration it gives to the place of consumption and fashion in driving not
only the market for printed maps, but also the form and content of those maps.
It also exemplifies the end to which detailed artefactual analysis should be
directed, specifically the understanding of the conditions and processes of map
or book production.
7.3. Maps and Constructed Images of Place, Space, and
Conley, Tom. The Self–Made Map: Cartographic Writing in
Early Modern France. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Begin Page 38
Conley expands our approach to early modern
cartography by matching the then inherently spatial form of printed text to the
inherently textual nature of spatial representations. His particular concern is
to trace the interrelations between the dramatic rise in mapping practices in
the 1500s, the development of spatial representations, and the formation of the
sense of self which so clearly defines modernity.
Del Casino, Vincent J., Jr., and Stephen P. Hanna.
“Representations and Identities in Tourism Map Spaces.” Progress in Human
Geography 24, no. 1 (2000): 23-46.
A pioneering, critical study of the tourist map and
its objectification of the exotic, the spectacular, and the mundane for the
consumption of the tourist. Its case study of maps of the Bangkok sex trade
raises some intriguing parallels between the mapping of land and the mapping of
See also Stephen P. Hanna and Vincent J. Del Casino,
Jr., eds., Mapping Tourism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
2003). Their introduction and final chapter recast the earlier article; the
other chapters address the construction of “tourism spaces” generally and do
not have much to say directly about maps.
§ Edwards, Jess. Writing, Geometry
and Space in Seventeenth-Century England and America:
Circles in the Sand. Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and
Culture, 5. London: Routledge, 2006.
is concerned less with actual maps and mapping practices as he is with the traces
of geographical mapping and land surveying in early modern English literature.
This is a cultural history of the image of the mapmaker and surveyor, in
their studies and the field, in plays, poems, and manuals. A recurrent theme is
the role of authorial self-fashioning and professional promotion. Edwards is
not really able to connect the two modes of geographical and property mapping,
reaffirming their general separation in the historical record. The first
chapter provides a very useful overview of recent trends in the history of
Francaviglia, Richard V. The Shape of Texas:
Maps as Metaphors. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press,
This small book explores the iconic role of the
outline of Texas. Francaviglia examines all sorts of popular cartography, from
road signs to belt buckles, in order to demonstrate the meaning and ‘naturalness’ with which we imbue our human-made regions. This should be read
in conjunction with Anderson’s commentary on map logos [complete reference].
§ Lane, K. Maria D. “Geographers of Mars: Cartographic
Inscription and Exploration (Begin Page 39) Narrative in Late Victorian Representations of the
Red Planet.” Isis 96 (2005): 477-506.
§ Lane, K. Maria D. “Mapping the Mars Canal Mania:
Cartographic Projection and the Creation of a Popular Icon.” Imago Mundi
58, no. 2 (2006): 198-211.
A pair of studies that elucidate wonderfully the
manner in which the technologies of compiling geographical maps were applied to
turn multiple telescopic observations of precise portions of the surface of
Mars into the mythic system of canals. Lane places this intellectual phenomenon
within a popular mania and anxiety about the possibility of advanced life on
Schulten, Susan. The Geographical Imagination in America,
1880-1950. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
In the first critical approach to the popular/mass
cartography in the U.S.A. in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Schulten explores
the relationship between geographical education, mapping, and the popular
images of the world held by Americans. The focal point of her study is the
shift in American geopolitical perceptions from isolationism to taking
center-stage in world politics after 1940.
Wolff, Larry. Inventing Eastern Europe:
The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment. Stanford: Stanford
University Press, 1994.
An exploration of how western Europe configured and
reconfigured “Eastern Europe" in the eighteenth century.
Cartographic representation played a significant role in constructing the new
divide between east and west (which replaced the older divide between north and
§ Wood, Denis, and John B. Krygier, eds. [Art and
Cartography]. Special Issue of Cartographic Perspectives, no. 53.
n.p.: North American Cartographic Information Society, 2006.
A suite of articles that draw intriguing and novel
connections between maps and art. Indeed, these are the first essays I’m
conscious of having read that consider the intersections of maps and art by engaging
with the ideologies of “map” and “art.”
§ For a slightly different take, refer also Janet
Abrams and Peter Hall, eds., Else/Where: Mapping. New Cartographies of
Networks and Territories (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press for
the University of Minnesota Design Institute, 2006).
Yonemoto, Marcia. Mapping Early Modern Japan:
Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868). Berkeley: University
of California Press, 2003.
Begin Page 40
A fascinating study of a non-western cartographic
culture, specifically one in which geographical maps permeated several literary
genres (gazetteers, travel literature, satirical fiction, etc.). This work is
an important example of the cultural analysis of the significance of
geographical mapping within print culture (like Helgerson) rather than within
governmental administration (like Winichakul complete reference]), and of the blurring of the
categories of “map” and “writing.”
§ See also Yonemoto’s “Silence Without Secrecy? What
is Left Unsaid in Early Modern Japanese Maps,” Early Modern Japan: An
Interdiscipinary Journal 14 (2006): 27-39.
7.4. Urban Mapping: Imagining Cities
Gilbert, Pamela K. Mapping the Victorian Social Body.
Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004.
No-one interested in modern urban cartography—and
more generally the construction of space and community—should miss this work.
Gilbert’s interest is in the British mapping related to cholera epidemics in nineteenth-century
London and British India (and not only Dr. Snow’s famous—and contested—1855 map
of the 1854-55 London outbreak), mapping that influenced Charles Dickens’s
conceptions of metropolitan society and that significantly shaped British
conceptions of themselves and of Indians as a distinctly different other.
Overall, this is a very successful integration of literary and cartographic
Kagan, Richard L. “Urbs and Civitas in
Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Spain.” In Envisioning the City: Six
Studies in Urban Cartography, ed. David Buisseret, 75-108. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1998.
Kagan provides a crucial framework for the analysis
of early modern city views and maps. He argues that spatial representations
actually fall within four groups defined by the perspective of the maker
(whether internal or external to the city) and by the particular conception of
the city being represented (whether urbs, the built environment, or civitas,
the community). This framework allows us to interrelate spatial representations
to other strategies for representing cities, ranging from holy-day parades to
portraiture. With respect to more modern imagery, Kagan’s work reminds us that
representations of entire cities are as much about community as the urban
Kagan returned to these issues in the introduction
of his Urban Images of the Hispanic World, 1493-1793 (New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press, 2000).
Begin Page 41
Schein, Richard H. “Representing Urban America:
19th-Century Views of Landscape, Space, and Power.” Environment and Planning
D: Society & Space 11 (1993): 7-21.
A tightly argued and compelling essay that examines
the late-nineteenth-century “bird’s-eye views” of industrial cities in the
U.S.A. in terms of their construction of idealized conceptions of community and
their almost naked claim to be empowering, truthful imagery. I have had great
success teaching this article in conjunction with John F. Kasson, Rudeness
& Civility: Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America (New York: Hill
and Wang, 1990), esp. 70-80. (Schein’s arguments are not necessarily relevant
for similar views of non-industrial cities.)
7.5. Cartography and the (Early) Modern State
§ Biggs, Michael. “Putting the State on the Map:
Cartography, Territory, and European State Formation.” Comparative Studies
in Society and History 41, no. 2 (1999): 374-405.
This is a useful and broad summary of the mapping by
European states of their territories before 1815. Very importantly, Biggs
argues that maps are not just “ruses of power” (as in the “hard" critique of
cartography: section 4.2.5)[,] but that they are
conceptual devices that configure the way we think about the world and its
divisions, and in particular the “state.” However, Biggs gives too much credence
to the modern cartographic ideal, so that he is able for example to compare
small-scale regional maps of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with much
larger-scale topographical surveys carried out by the eighteenth-century French
and their emulators.
Buisseret, David, ed. Monarchs,
Ministers, and Maps: The Emergence of Cartography as a Tool of Government in
Early Modern Europe.Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
The quality of the essays in this volume is
variable, as is the conception of government (king or bureaucracy?).
Nonetheless, this collection opened up a whole new arena of historical
research. Of special note are Barber’s meticulously referenced essays on the
English bureaucracy and Vann’s unfortunately brief essay on the territorial
conceptions of the Austrian Habsburg empire.
Buisseret returned to the basic theme of this
book—why map use expanded so significantly between 1400 and 1800—in his The
Mapmaker’s Quest: Depicting New Worlds in Renaissance Europe (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2003).
Craib, Raymond B. Cartographic Mexico: A
History of State Fixations and Fugitive Landscapes. Durham, N.C.: Duke
University Press, 2004.
Begin Page 42
Craib pursues a two-pronged investigation into the
role of maps in the formation of an independent Mexican state in the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries. First, at the geographical scale, he explores the
fixation of federal and state authorities on rationalizing their knowledge of
the country, with delineating state boundaries, and with emplacing every
locality on the map of the country; integral to this fixation was the
deployment of geographical maps to represent the entire country in the ongoing
public negotiations about the country’s nature and national identity. Second,
Craib explores the role of the surveying and mapping in agrarian reform and the
rationalization of overlapping jurisdictions and property rights; this section
explores the role of the farmers and landlords in contesting state authority
and its spatial rationalization and, in so doing, shaping the state’s knowledge
Hannah, Matthew G. Governmentality and the Mastery of
Territory in Nineteenth-Century America. Cambridge Studies in
Historical Geography, 32. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Hannah employs Foucault’s late idea of
governmentality—the negotiation of state power over entire territories and
their populations, rather than individuals, by means of the social sciences and
social policy—to understand the rise of social and geographical investigation,
the census, and thematic mapping in the nineteenth-century U.S.A. This is an
important work in delineating the contribution of cartography to the modern
state as well as the inherent limits to such contributions.
Kain, Roger J. P., and Elizabeth Baigent. The Cadastral
Map in the Service of the State: A History of Property Mapping. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1992.
An innovative and wide-ranging analysis of
state-sponsored, very large-scale, property mapping. Kain and Baigent explore
the taxation and land registration systems of western and northern Europe,
together with their early colonies. They do not provide much comparative
analysis, but their work is highly suggestive: comparisons between apparently
similar states reveal strikingly dissimilar reasons and styles of cadastral
mapping; similar forms of mapping were undertaken by institutionally dissimilar
§ Kivelson, Valerie A. Cartographies of Tsardom: The Land
and its Meanings in Seventeenth-Century Russia. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University
Kivelson discards the habitual treatment of
seventeenth-century Russian cartography as poorly developed, incomplete, and
destined to be replaced by the “scientific” reforms initiated by Peter the
Great. In particular, she explores two cartographic modes—the high-resolution
mapping of real and human property in the Russian heartland and the low-resolution
mapping of Siberia and its peoples by Semen Remezov and other agents of the
Russian empire—as (Begin Page 43) manifestations of the distinct character of the Russian state
and of the Orthodox faith. In the process, Kivelson reveals the Muscovite
empire to have been a complex layering of territories and responsibilities in
which serfs and indigenous peoples were tied directly to certain districts, with
mapping playing an important role in this process.
Konvitz, Josef W. Cartography in France,
1660-1848: Science, Engineering, and Statecraft. Chicago: University of Chicago
A pioneering study of the interrelations between
different arenas of cartographic activity—systematic surveys, territorial
reorganization, hydrography, engineering surveying, and thematic mapping—and
their intersections with government and state administration. Konvitz’s
particular concern was to locate improvements in cartographic technology during
a very long eighteenth century not in some innate characteristic of cartography
but in the particular and various needs of the French state.
Winichakul, Thongchai. Siam
Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii
In this very important, influential, and detailed
analysis of cartographic cultural imperialism, Winichakul examines how the Thai
state promulgated the Western conception of space—displacing traditional
Siamese conceptions in discursive arenas controlled by the state—in order to
construct a national territory that would resist, ideologically, the
territorial encroachments by the British and French empires during the
§ See also Winichakul’s “The Quest for ‘Siwilai’: A
Geographical Discourse of Civilizational Thinking in the Late Nineteenth and
Early Twentieth-Century Siam,” Journal of Asian Studies 59, no. 3
7.6. Colonial and Imperial Cartographies 1: Early Modern
Hotstetler, Laura. Qing Colonial Enterprise:
Ethnography and Cartography in Early Modern China. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 2001.
Hotstetler examines the intersections of
cartographic and ethnographic representation in the particular context of the
consolidation of Qing (Manchu) China’s control over the interior southern province
of Guizhou in the eighteenth century. At the center of this effort were the
surveys undertaken by Jesuit missionaries, surveys which are often interpreted
as indicating China’s cartographic dependence upon Western models of map
making. But Hotstetler deftly argues that these surveys, in origin and form,
were essentially Chinese undertakings intended to create a sense of national,
Begin Page 44
Mignolo, Walter D. The Darker Side of the Renaissance:
Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
An intriguing exploration of the interconnections of
literature and map in the representation of the Spanish empire in the Americas.
Some of Mignolo’s assertions with respect to early modern cartography need to
be read judiciously; his overall approach complements Helgerson. See Padrón,
below [complete reference].
Mundy, Barbara E. The Mapping of New
Spain: Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones
Geográficas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
A tremendous study of colonial cartography “on the
ground.” The Spanish government sent out requests for geographical information;
it received a series of texts and maps that reveal a complex, syncretic
society. None of the maps were purely indigenous or European in form or
content, but all entailed hybridized representations. A key study for breaking
out of the emphasis on the metropolitan mapping of empires.
Padrón, Ricardo. The Spacious Word:
Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Padrón narrates the slow process whereby the Spanish
came to write and comprehend—through textual accounts and in maps—their possessions
in the Americas. His particular interest is in the concepts of space that
circulated through geographically informed discourses, of plays and poetry, as
well as maps and actual geographies, exploring how they informed and shaped and
reconfigured one another. That is, Padrón has undertaken a careful and detailed
analysis of a particular spatial discourse; his conclusions have weight and
power. Of special interest is his argument that the modern, singular idea of
“map” develops through the process of comprehending the New World.
7.7. Colonial and Imperial Cartographies 2: Modern Period
§ Białas, Zbigniew. Mapping Wild Gardens:
The Symbolic Conquest of South Africa. Englischsprachige Literaten
Afrikas / African Literatures in English, 13. Essen: Verlag Die Blaue Eule,
intellectually rewarding study by a literary scholar of the interrelations of
mapping and imperialism in a “failed” settler colony deserves much wider
readership among historians. Białas sees imperialist cartography as an exercise
in wish-fulfillment in which fantasies are projected and, to varying degrees,
made real. The work is motivated by scholarship in literature (e.g., Paul
Carter (Begin Page 45) and Graham Huggan), politics (e.g., Benedict Anderson), and philosophy
(e.g., Michel Foucault) rather than by historians of cartography, who are
conspicuous by their absence from the bibliography; in this regard, it
exemplifies the general academic trend towards an appreciation of the cultural
complexity of mapping practices.
Burnett, D. Graham. Masters of All They Surveyed:
Exploration, Geography, and a British El Dorado. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 2000.
This wonderfully written work is a critical study of
the role of the “explorer,” a mythic figure in the history of European overseas
expansion. Drawing on the work of Carter, Edney, and Winichakul, Burnett
explores the nineteenth-century mapping of British Guiana as the layering of
multiple myths atop a base stratum formed by the early modern legend of “El
Dorado.” An historian of science, Burnett successfully incorporated art
history as well as cartographic history to produce an excellent
Carter, Paul. The Road to Botany Bay: An
Essay in Spatial History. London: Faber and Faber, 1987; New York: Alfred
A. Knopf, 1988; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.
This brilliant work was initially swamped by the
other books marking Australia’s centenary, but has since gained a loyal
following. Carter introduces the idea of “spatial history” as an antidote to
the prevailing mode of “imperial history”; that is, land is not a static and
unproblematic arena within which history unfolds, but rather the shifting
configurations of the land in texts, graphics, and cartographics has a history
in its own right, a history which undermines the mythic ideologies of regular
See also Carter’s The Lie of the Land
(London: Faber and Faber, 1996).
DeRogatis, Amy. Moral Geography: Maps, Missionaries,
and the American Frontier. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
A careful study of Connecticut’s Western Reserve, in
present-day Ohio, during the Early Republic, when the settlers and
Congregationalist ministers on the frontier and the community leaders back East
all equated a well-ordered, regularly surveyed, and productive landscape with
Protestant morality. DeRogatis thus outlines a significant religious and moral
component to the rectangular land surveys that would partition the American
West, in addition to the Enlightened rationality more commonly ascribed to
Edney, Matthew H. Mapping an Empire: The Geographic
Construction of British India, 1765–1843. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1997.
Begin Page 46
This was the first detailed analysis of a
state-sponsored survey from a critical perspective. In the process, Edney
outlined the role of mapping and surveying in defining both the territorial and
ethical conceptions of the British empire in India; he also examined the
shifting technologies of large-scale surveying—and specifically the adoption of
triangulation—between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
§ Stone, Jeffrey C. “Imperialism, Colonialism and
Cartography.” Transactions of the Instituteof British
Geographers ns 13 (1988): 57-64.
In this generally overlooked essay, Stone revisits
the fabled moment of the empiricist historical narrative, when Enlightenment
consolidated cartography as a science. This process is often expressed through
the mapping of Africa: the pre-1700 habit of littering Africa’s interior with
icons of elephants and lions gave way to a scientific respect for blank spaces.
But Stone demonstrates that this was merely an aesthetic shift and that
traditional forms of European imperialism and mapping continued right up until
the 1880s and the partition of the continent. Only with active colonialism did
Europeans engage in detailed surveys, which were over overwhelmingly focused on
7.8. Cartography and Nationalism
§ Brückner, Martin. 2006. The Geographic Revolution in
Early America: Maps, Literacy, and National Identity. Chapel
Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early
American History and Culture.
An complex study of the educational use of maps to
overcome the disparities between the colonies and instead congeal a national “American” identity in the fledgling United States. This process further
underpinned the development of an autonomous U.S. tradition of geographical
expression in maps and texts. A significant component is Brückner’s discussion
of the word-maps formed from movable type and included within educational texts
in lieu of expensive copper-engraved maps.
Helgerson, Richard. Forms of Nationhood: The
Elizabethan Writing of England. Chicago: University of Chicago
This break-through text demonstrated the multiple
links between mapping and other representational strategies. Helgerson examines
poetry, legal treatises, plays, religious tracts, political economy, maps, and
geographical accounts in a complex account of the construction of “Englishness” (Court vs. country; England vs. Europe; Modern vs. Ancients, etc.) in Tudor and
early Stuart England. This work contributed substantially to the proliferation
of interest in maps among scholars of early modern literature.
Begin Page 47
Herb, Guntram Henrik. Under the Map of Germany:
Nationalism and Propaganda, 1918–1945. London: Routledge, 1997.
Herb addresses the role of mapping in constructing a
German sense of national territory after the division of the empire in 1918.
The ideological delimitation of the “true” German nation-state permeated all
shades of political discourse, not just that associated with the National
Socialists. It was so prevalent that it underscored the formation of an
“objective” and “scientific” discipline of cartography.
See also Herb’s “Persuasive Cartography in Geopolitik and National Socialism,” Political Geography Quarterly 8, no. 3 (1989):
§ Ramaswamy, Sumathi. The Lost Land of Lemuria:
Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories. Berkeley: University of California
A crucial study of the very strategic mappings by
Tamils in southern India of “Lemuria”—a landmass that nineteenth-century
scientists supposed to have anciently reached across the Indian Ocean in order to
explain the distribution of marsupials—as the ancient homeland of the Tamil
people and the site of their great historical sagas. As such, these maps became
a focal point of Tamil identity and resistance to the cultural dominance of
§ See also Ramaswamy’s “Catastrophic Cartographies:
Mapping the Lost Continent of Lemuria,” Representations, no. 67 (1999):
92-129, and “History at Land’s End: Lemuria in Tamil Spatial Fables,” Journal
of Asian Studies 59, no. 3 (2000): 575-602.
§ Ramaswamy, Sumathi. “Maps and Mother Goddesses in Modern
India.” Imago Mundi 53 (2001): 97-114.
§ Ramaswamy, Sumathi. “Visualising India’s Geo-Body:
Globes, Maps, Bodyscapes.” Contributions to Indian Sociology 36, no. 1
and 2 (2002): 151-189.
§ Ramaswamy, Sumathi. “Enshrining the Map of India: Cartography,
Nationalism, and the Politics of Deity in Varanasi.” In Visualizing Space in
Banaras: Images, Maps, and the Practice of Representation,
ed. Martin Gaenszle and Jörg Gengnagel, 165-88. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag,
Important studies of how independence and
postcolonial movements adopted logo maps of South Asia created by the British
and adapted them to the needs of Hindu cultural forms and Indian nationalism.
In this respect, these essays constitute a crucial supplement to Benedict
Anderson’s explication of logo maps and nationalism [complete
Begin Page 48
Withers, Charles W. J. Geography, Science and National
Identity: Scotland since 1520. Cambridge Studies in
Historical Geography, 33. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
A wide-ranging study examining the role of
geographical knowledge—including mapping—contributed to the identity and
significance of Scotland as a distinctive and coherent place and of the Scots
as a “nation.” Withers’s particular interest is in the several geographical
discourses—especially within the “public sphere” (chaps. 3 and 4) and
nineteenth-century British imperialism (chap. 6)—which yoked the geographical
specialist to much wider audiences.
8. Suggestions for an Initial Reading List
A first assault on the literature might comprise the
Harley, “The Map and the Development of the History
of Cartography” (to understand the history of the field). [complete reference]
Harley, “Maps, Knowledge, and Power.” [complete reference]
“Theoretical Aspects of the History of Cartography” Imago
Mundi (1996). [complete
Wood, The Power of Maps, esp. chapters 2
(social complexity and cartography), 3 (conventional nature of maps), and 5
(pp. 95-107, on a strategy for reading maps). [complete reference]
Turnbull, Maps are Territories. [complete reference]
9. Bibliographic Tools Useful for the History of Cartography
Researchers will find pertinent works, in addition to
those already listed in this document—and in addition to the further works that
they, in turn, cite—by means of a variety of bibliographic tools.
9.1. Specialized Bibliographies (Print)
Researchers should consult the remarkable trove of
information in the notes and listings found in the works in section 1, particularly the
bibliographies of recent literature found in each issue of Imago Mundi
(indexed since 1977, and searchable by keyword through JSTOR) (Begin Page 49) and in the
international directories of research in the history of cartography.
For the older literature in the field, reference must be
§ Phillips, Philip Lee. “A List of Works Relating to
Cartography.” In A List of Maps of America in the Library of
Congress. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1901; repr. New York: B. Franklin,
Library of Congress, Bibliography of Cartography.
5 vols. plus supplements in 2 vols. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1973-1980.
Ristow, Walter W., ed. Guide to the History of
Cartography: An Annotated List of References on the History of Maps and
Mapmaking. Washington, D.C.: Geography and Map Division, Library of
Congress, 1973 (earlier editions in 1954 and 1960).
Researchers should also browse the key cartographic journals
Cartographica, published since 1980 by the University
of Toronto Press (previously The Canadian Cartographer) and home to
many important articles, it was revamped in 2003-2004.
The Cartographic Journal, journal of the
British Cartographic Society, includes many works of theoretical and historical
Cartographic Perspectives, journal of the
North American Cartographic Information Society, has increasingly published
articles of historical relevance in recent years.
Progress in Human Geography includes annual
summaries of recent literature in cartography and the history of cartography.
an online journal of the Map and Geography Round Table of the American Library
Association, replacing the older publication Meridian. Both journals
have much of historical and general cartographic interest.
MapForum—originally an online journal (http://www.mapforum.com),
active between 1999 and 2002—was reconfigured in 2004 as a quarterly print
publication, filling the niche for the glossy map magazine left when Mercator’s
World ceased publishing. Mercator’s World (1996-2003) itself was
something of a successor to the old The Map Collector (1977-1996). These
journals all include much of interest to the historian of cartography; indexes
are available for the entire run of The Map Collector.
Begin Page 50
The Portolan, the newsletter of the Washington
Map Society, also includes many intriguing essays on historical
topics, some quite substantial.
For other “hidden” cartographic journals, especially
those that do not publish in English, such as Caert-Thresoor (1982- ) or
Cartographica Helvetica (1990- ), refer to the list of journals in the Map
History gateway website.
9.2. Specialized Bibliographies (On-Line)
Robert W. Karrow’s“Concise Bibliography of
the History of Cartography: A Selected, Annotated List of Works on Old Maps and
Their Makers, and on their Collection, Cataloging, Care, and Use,”
prepared in 1997, with updates through 2000. Karrow identified more than three
hundred works within two primary categories: “General Literature,” and “Map
Catalogs and Cartobibliographies.”
Evelyn Edson’s “Bibliographic Essay: History of
Cartography” originally appeared in CHOICE: Current Reviews for
Academic Libraries 38, nos. 11-12 (July/August 2001): 1899-909. This
discussion of more than one hundred works, mostly English-language, was posted
in January 2002 on the Map History gateway, with the
permission of the American Library Association.
Joanne Woolway Grenfell prepared her “A
Bibliography of Secondary Texts Relating to Early Modern Literature and
Geography,” Early Modern Literary Studies 4.2 : no. 16 in
conjunction with a special issue of that online journal, dedicated to the
interconnections between literature and cartography in early modern Europe.
§ Of more general use is Peter van der Krogt’s
“Articles in Journals on the History of Cartography”, a comprehensive
and regularly updated listing of articles in the many journals dedicated to the
history of cartography. A single, large, HTML file, this can be searched for
keywords by using the browser’s search function.
9.3. On-Line Indexes to Scholarly Writing
Much of the recent writing on the history of cartography
has appeared within journals representing diverse academic fields and has not
necessarily been picked up by the
bibliographies. Many of these articles, especially those in the English
language, can be readily found through various online databases of academic
literatures. Note that most of these online databases are accessible only
through university subscriptions.
ArticleFirst: OCLC’s index to 12,000+ journals in
science, technology, medicine, social (Begin Page 51) science, business, the humanities, and
popular culture, developed since 1990.
Web of Knowledge (a.k.a. Web of Science): a
combination of three citation indexes (science, social sciences, arts and
humanities), together indexing 8,000+ peer-reviewed journals. One can search by
regular criteria (author, keyword, etc.) or by works cited. A crucial source!
WorldCat: an online union catalog run by OCLC
(Online Computer Library Center) that contains more than 64 million records (as
of early 2006) for books, maps, and other materials, from the Library of
Congress and many academic and non-academic libraries in North America (U.S.
and Canada). Despite the title, the cataloging of materials in libraries beyond
North America remains very limited. A non-subscription, public-access version
is available at http://worldcat.org;
while stripped down, this is a very useful resource for anyone without access
to a university subscription. For older works, which in some cases have yet to
be cataloged through WorldCat, reference should also be made to the many
volumes of the Library of Congress's National Union Catalog, Pre-1956
Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog
(KVK): an open-access and multi-lingual portal to a series of major
European library catalogs, including national union catalogs, to which
bibliographic searches can be submitted simultaneously. This is a very useful
9.3.2. The Historical Literature
America: History and Life: index, with
abstracts, to 1,700+ social science and humanities journals in the field of United
States and Canadian history, developed since 1964; see also Historical
Abstracts and the note there.
Historical Abstracts: index, with abstracts, to
1,700+ historical periodicals (in 40 languages), developed since 1955; see also
America: History and Life. Note that more general treatments of
cartographic history, if they do not have a clear geographical arena for their
subject matter, seem to fall within the divide between Historical Abstracts
and America: History and Life and so are cataloged by neither; reference
should always be made to other indexes and catalogs.
History of Science, Technology and Medicine: RLIN’s
online version of the ISIS bibliographies in the history of science (since
1975), together with bibliographies in the histories of technology and
9.3.3. The Geographical Literature
Note that few general and specific online article databases
index specifically cartographic journals. As a result, reference should also be
made to two indexes of geographical literature.
GeoBase: index, with abstracts, to the scholarly
literature since 1980 on geography, geology and ecology. This online database
is generally available in those universities which have large Geography
Begin Page 52
GeoBib is the cumulative (since 1985), online
version of the American Geographical Society Collection’s Current
Geographical Publications. Access is open: http://geobib.lib.uwm.edu/.
© 1998, 2006, 2007, Matthew H. Edney