We are accustomed to thinking of maps as simple tools that tell us how to get from one place to another or where some distant country or mountain range is. It is true that on the simplest level maps depict the geography-the general physical description and spatial organization-of our planet. But the content of maps is as much determined by culture, historical circumstances, and the ideas and interests of mapmakers and map users as it is by the geography that maps attempt to depict. With this in mind, participants in this seminar will learn how the study of historical map documents can support greater understanding of the cultural and historical processes at work in human exploration of the world. We will place particular emphasis on the European encounter with America, Euro-American exploration of and expansion in North America, and Native American mapping.
Seminar led by James Akerman, Newberry Library and Robert Karrow, Newberry Library