15th Nebenzahl Lectures: The Imperial Map: Cartography and the Mastery of Empire

Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lecture Series
Thursday, October 7, 2004 to Saturday, October 9, 2004

The expansion of early modern states into global empires had ramifications for almost every aspect of the history of modern cartography. Topographic mapping played an important practical and symbolic role in the attempts to extend European power over newly established dependencies. In Western North America, parts of South America, Russian Siberia, and sub–Saharan Africa, exploratory mapping furthered political and military objectives, assessed economic resources, and assisted the settlement of colonizers and the displacement or absorption of the colonized. On a broader social and political front, public forms of mapping, such as journalistic and educational mapping, contributed to the formation of popular imagination of empire at home and later among the colonized. In turn, colonized peoples themselves began to develop their own cartographic responses to imperialism that drew upon both their own cartographic traditions and Western ones.

Speakers

  • D. Graham Burnett (Princeton University), “‘Empires of Science and Commerce’: Whalers, Wilkes, and U.S. Sea-Charting in the Age of Sail”

  • Matthew Edney (University of Southern Maine), “The Irony of Imperial Mapping”

  • Michael Heffernan (University of Nottingham), “Cartography and Imperial Propaganda, 1830–1930”

  • Laura Hostetler (University of Illinois at Chicago), “Contending Cartographic Claims: The Qing Empire in Manchu, Chinese, and European Maps”

  • Valerie Kivelson (University of Michigan), “ ‘Exalted and Glorified to the Ends of the Earth’: Christianity and Colonialism in Seventeenth-Century Russian Siberia”

  • Neil Safier (University of Michigan), “The Confines of the Captaincy: Boundary-Lines, Ethnographic Landscapes, and the Limits of Imperial Cartography in Eighteenth-Century Iberoamerica”

 The 15th Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures were published by the University of Chicago Press in 2009.