Cartography and the Mastery of Empire
The Times Higher Education recently published quite a positive review of The Imperial Map: Cartography and the Mastery of Empire. Drawn from the prestigious Nebenzahl Lectures at the Newberry Library’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography and edited by the center’s director, James R. Ackerman, the book examines the maps of a range of cultures during the 17th to 20th centuries to illustrate the ubiquitous use of cartography by ruling bodies to claim their entitlement to lands and peoples.
From Valerie Kivelson’s piece on the early imperial Russian mapping of Siberia, to Neil Safier‘s exposition on Portuguese mapping of its South American territories, as THE contributor Sarah Bendall notes:
[Ackerman’s] choices are excellent and his list of contributors impressive…. The essays all describe instances in which unequal power relationships between communities produced maps that represented imperial subjects for the exclusive benefit of the rulers. Together, the authors show that the picture of imperial mapping is complex, with religious doctrine, scientific exploration, commerce, ethnography, propaganda and administrative practice operating in different ways depending upon the context.… These are complex stories, but Akerman is to be congratulated on his editing. He has ensured that the reader is guided through case studies and well-constructed chapters that make good uses of summaries and conclusions.…
There is something here for all those interested in the political, social and imperial history and geography of past times.
You can find out more about The Imperial Map or Ackerman’s other titles in the history of cartography on our website, or read the rest of the review on the Times Higher Education website.
Also, see our complete list of edited volumes from the Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography.