13th Nebenzahl Lectures: Narratives and Maps: Historical Studies of Cartographic Storytelling

Thursday, October 28, 1999Saturday, October 30, 1999
Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lecture Series

Most people think of maps as simple representations of space, not of time, history, or myth. Yet some Mesoamerican maps relate the myths and legendary histories of the communities that made them, battle plans from all eras narrate the tactics and fortunes of combatants in space and time, and historical atlases chart the expansion and contraction of nations and empires. These maps, then, cannot be reduced to a spatial collection of facts. The most valuable information they have to offer is in the story that they tell. But do all maps tell a story? This series of the Lectures addressed this fascinating question, and in so doing made inroads into understanding the narrative and storytelling properties of maps and the ways in which maps are deployed in narrative works.


  • James Akerman (The Newberry Library), “Introduction: Cartography as a Narrative Form,” “Regional Identity and the Narrative Organization of Space in Early Atlases”

  • Jeremy Black (University of Exeter), “Historical Atlases as Narratives”

  • Theodore Cachey (University of Notre Dame), “Print Culture and the Literature of Travel: The Case of the Isolario

  • Mercedes Maroto Camino (University of Auckland), “The City and the Book: Urban Representation from Christine de Pizan to the Civitates Orbis Terrarum

  • Mark Monmonier (Syracuse University), “Cartographic Narratives, Openness and the New Technology”

  • Jeffrey N. Peters (University of Kentucky), “Allegorical Maps and the Writing of Space in Seventeenth–Century France”

  • William Sherman (Univeristy of Maryland-College Park), “Plotting Empire in English Renaissance Travel Narratives”

  • Garrett Sullivan (Pennsylvania State University), “The Atlas as a Literary Genre: Reading the Inutility of John Ogilby’s Britannia”