World Map of Pirrus de Noha
World Map of Pirrus de Noha, ca. 1414
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Volume 1: Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean
(1987)

J. Brian Harley and David Woodward, Editors

600 pages, 40 color plates, 240 black-and-white illustrations.
Awarded Best Book in the Humanities (1987) from the
Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division,
Association of American Publishers.


Volume One and Volume Two, Books 1, 2, and 3 Available Online:
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/

View, search, or download chapters as PDFs from the University of Chicago Press.


"Maps are graphic representations that facilitate a spatial understanding of things, concepts, conditions, processes, or events in the human world." (Preface, p. xvi)

 
By developing the broadest and most inclusive definition of the term "map" ever adopted in the history of cartography, this inaugural volume of the History of Cartography series has helped redefine the way maps are studied and understood by scholars in a number of disciplines. Such a catholic definition allows the study of a variety of graphic representations that are tremendously relevant to our understanding of the mapping process yet have previously been ignored by map historians. It also promotes the investigation of the map as a repository of culturally-embedded and graphically-portrayed understandings about space that broadens our knowledge of how people, at different times and places, have experienced their world.

Volume One addresses the prehistorical and historical mapping traditions of premodern Europe and the Mediterranean world. A substantial introductory essay surveys the historiography and theoretical development of the history of cartography and situates the work of our multi-volume series within this scholarly tradition. Cartographic themes include an emphasis on the spatial-cognitive abilities of Europe's prehistoric peoples and their transmission of cartographic concepts through media such as rock art; the emphasis on mensuration, land surveys, and architectural plans in the cartography of Ancient Egypt and the Near East; the emergence of both theoretical and practical cartographic knowledge in the Greco-Roman world; and the parallel existence of diverse mapping traditions (mappaemundi, portolan charts, local and regional cartography) in the Medieval period. Throughout the volume, a commitment to include cosmographical and celestial maps underscores the inclusive definition of "map" and sets the tone for the breadth of scholarship found in later volumes of the series.


 

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Island of Euboea by Piri Re'is
Island of Euboea by Piri Re'is, 1526
Full caption and link to 431 Kb image

Volume 2, Book 1: Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies
(1992)

J. Brian Harley and David Woodward, Editors

580 pages, 40 color plates, 355 black-and-white illustrations.
Awarded the R. R. Hawkins Award for Best Scholarly Book (1992)
by the Association of American Publishers.


Volume One and Volume Two, Books 1, 2, and 3 Available Online:
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/

View, search, or download chapters as PDFs from the University of Chicago Press.


In Volume Two we turn our attention to the mapping traditions of the non-Western world. Our commitment to addressing the cartographic practices of societies outside of Europe stems from the general lack of significant scholarship on the subject. Indeed, the three books of Volume Two constitute the fullest treatment of non-Western cartography ever offered. In presenting non-Western cartography, however, it has been our mission to understand the cartographic traditions of non-Western cultures on their own terms rather than against the Western yardstick of technical innovation. These mapping traditions, when placed within their cultural contexts, are rich with insights into the way different peoples understand and interact with their surroundings. It is hoped that the books of Volume Two not only capture a sense of this richness but also encourage future research that will bring the history of non-Western cartography into the mainstream of the history of cartography.

This first book of Volume Two brings together the full range of maps produced in traditional Islamic and South Asian societies from late prehistory onward. The volume discusses Islamic cartography through themes such as the striking heterogeneity of mapping traditions due to the diversity and periodic discontinuity of Islamic culture, the importance of celestial and cosmographical cartography, and the extraordinary technical proficiency of scholars involved in cartographic production. The strong links between Islamic cartography and premodern European cartography are addressed with the understanding that Islamic cartography was not simply a passive preserver of Greek classical knowledge in the centuries between the fall of Rome and the European Renaissance revival of classical ideas. The book then turns to the heretofore undocumented richness of the South Asian mapping traditions. A central theme is the overwhelming importance of cosmographical concepts for South Asian culture and their concomitant influence on mapping. Far from being a secondary form of cartographic production, cosmographical mapping was the quintessential expression of the mapping impulse in South Asian societies. Cosmography was supplemented by a strong legacy of topographical maps, route maps, and architectural plans originating in key regions of the Indian subcontinent (primarily Kashmir, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra), and these terrestrial mapping traditions are also given full treatment.


 

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Kangnido by Yi Hoe and Kwon Kun
Kangnido by Yi Hoe and Kwon Kun, ca. 1470
Full caption and link to 611 Kb image

Volume 2, Book 2: Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies
(1994)

J. Brian Harley and David Woodward, Editors

970 pages, 40 color plates, 503 black-and-white illustrations.


Volume One and Volume Two, Books 1, 2, and 3 Available Online:
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/

View, search, or download chapters as PDFs from the University of Chicago Press.


Volume Two, Book Two, continues our examination of the mapping traditions of the non-Western world by focusing on the cartography of East and Southeast Asia. The book begins with a treatment of prehistoric rock cartography found in various regions throughout Asia. This discussion parallels the discussion of prehistoric cartography in Europe, developed in Volume One. Following this is a discussion of the cartographic traditions of East Asia. As the introduction to this section suggests, East Asia is best considered a cultural category founded on commonalities of politics (bureaucratic hereditary monarchy), language (use of Classical Chinese by the elite), and philosophy (Neo-Confucianism). Though these factors did not produce a homogeneous cultural region, the common threads they represented did link China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam to each other, and these links are evident when examining the cartographic record. Specifically, East Asian cartography can be characterized by its emphasis on aesthetic principles that link map making as much to painting and poetry as to science and technology and by its strong textual tradition that embeds cartographic meaning within the framework of the written text. Throughout the section, East Asian cartography is examined from the perspective of politics, measurement, the arts, cosmography, and the influence of the West.

Compared to the cultural unity of East Asia, the smaller geographic region of Southeast Asia is incredibly diverse. The cartographic traditions of Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are most unified by cosmographical maps that reflect the related Buddhist and Hindu world views that dominate the region. Terrestrial maps, however, show remarkable variation—particularly when one compares the surviving corpus from Burma and Thailand with maps from Malaysia and the East Indies. These maps range from large to small scale and include maps of broad regions, route maps, and maps of rural and urban localities. In addition, a small but significant group of nautical charts have been uncovered in Southeast Asia, mostly the work of Javanese pilots. Finally, in addition to cosmographical, terrestrial, and nautical maps, this region has been the source of a number of architectural plans depicting the expansive sacred temples built to celebrate Buddhist and Hindu spirituality.


 

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Map of the Valley of Mexico, ca. 1540
Map of the Valley of Mexico, ca. 1542
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Volume 2, Book 3: Cartography in the Traditional African, American, Arctic, Australian, and Pacific Societies
(1998)

David Woodward and G. Malcolm Lewis, Editors

639 pages, 24 color plates, 459 black-and-white illustrations.
Awarded the American Historical Association's James Henry Breasted Prize (1999)
for the best English-language book in the ancient and early
medieval history of Africa, North America, and Latin America.


Volume One and Volume Two, Books 1, 2, and 3 Available Online:
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/

View, search, or download chapters as PDFs from the University of Chicago Press.


This final installment of Volume Two considers the traditional mapping practices of societies in Africa, the Americas, the Arctic, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. Of the published volumes thus far, this one most fully elaborates the broad definition of ‘map’ laid out in Volume One. Despite incredible variations in geographic setting and cultural practice this book clearly demonstrates strong parallels between the cartographic practices of these traditional societies. In particular, we examine the prominence of cosmological subject matter in the cartographic record, the emphasis on the ritualistic uses and often ephemeral nature of cartographic materials, the fusion of time and space in the world views and maps, the primacy of the center and the circle as geometric concepts, the practice of using maps to represent both the spatial layout of the landscape and the important cultural events that have occurred there, and the participatory nature of all cultural representation, which intimately ties the practice of mapping to the human lifeworld.

This book is significant from the viewpoint of historiography in the history of cartography in that it relies heavily on the expertise of anthropologists. In so doing, it marks an important step toward a truly interdisciplinary history of cartography and helps to draw an exciting new perspective into the debate over the nature of maps. In addition, in keeping with the scholarship presented in Volume Two, Books One and Two, this book examines mapping traditions founded on principles different from the cartographic practices of Europe—traditions that are only comprehensible when situated within the cultural contexts that have called them into existence and shaped their development. It is this commitment to proper contextualization that has made the History of Cartography series the leading reference work in the field.
 


 

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Cordiform World Map of Oronce Fine, ca. 1536
Cordiform World Map of Oronce Fine, ca. 1536
Full caption and link to 705 Kb image

Volume 3: Cartography in the European Renaissance
(2007)

David Woodward, Editor

2180 pages, 80 color plates, 965 black-and-white illustrations.
2008 H. W. Wilson Award for Excellence in Indexing
presented to Volume Three indexer Margie Towery.


This volume resumes the chronological treatment of mapping in Europe and the Mediterranean region begun in Volume One. A central theme is the nature of the transition from Medieval to Renaissance cartography. Does this transition constitute a significant revolution in mapmaking and map use, and does studying the cartographic history of this period contribute to a general understanding of such notions as "renaissance" and "modernity"? In the first of two major sections of Volume Three, a series of interpretive essays address these issues by placing cartography within the context of Renaissance society. The relationship of maps to Renaissance culture is explored through the themes of continuity and change in the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance; the visual, textual, and mathematical models influencing mapping; and the changing nature of the Renaissance world view due to the influence of new scientific practices, travel writing, religious reformations, transformations in geographical imagination, and encounters with various non-Europeans. In addition, Renaissance maps are examined in terms of the technical skills used to create them, the political contexts and purposes that put them to use, and the circumstances of production and consumption that governed their economic capacity. This section also describes the cartographic literacy and general map use that characterized Renaissance Europe.

The second major section of the volume addresses European Renaissance cartography in state contexts and discusses the cartographic endeavors of the Italian States, Portugal, Spain, the German Lands, the Low Countries, France, the British Isles, Scandinavia, East-Central Europe, and Russia. These essays provide the particulars of map production and map use that complement the thematic and generalized approach laid out in the first part of the volume. They constitute a thorough bibliographical account of the rich cartographic production of Renaissance Europe. In addition, detailed appendixes provide exhaustive reference lists, including authoritative lists of all editions of Ptolemy's Geography and the major manuscript world maps. This twofold approach to Renaissance cartography will satisfy the needs of our diverse readership for both historical context and detailed treatment of individual artifacts and will provide a benchmark for future scholarship on Renaissance maps and mapping across a variety of disciplines.


 

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Map of St. Petersburg by Johann Homann, 1731
Map of St. Petersburg by Johann Homann, 1731
Full caption and link to 510 Kb image

Volume 4: Cartography in the European Enlightenment
(Forthcoming)

Matthew Edney and Mary Sponberg Pedley, Editors
Robert Karrow, Dennis Reinhartz, and Sarah Tyacke, Associate Editors


The European Enlightenment, treated in Volume Four, might be called the era of the map, and it was characterized by several key themes. As a form of knowledge, “map” proliferated as a metaphor exemplifying the construction of knowledge in general; in just one example, Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert famously described their Encyclopédie as “a kind of world map” (une espèce de mappemonde). The concept of the geographical map was dynamic and exciting to contemporaries, embodying as it did the complex and intellectually fruitful discipline of “mathematical cosmography” that integrated the study of the heavens and the earth. The intersections between maps and scientific inquiry reflected that integration in the work of the newly created, state-sponsored scientific institutions such as the Royal Society (London) and the Académie royale des sciences (Paris) to support cartographic endeavors, which provided necessary data to test and refine hypotheses about the shape of the earth and its place in the solar system. Government and administrative institutions increasingly relied on maps in order to regulate and control their territories, undertaking many surveys to provide civil and military authorities at home and in colonial settings with spatial information, although this remained very much an ad hoc process until about 1800. Expanded map consumption resulted from increasing economic stability and growth after 1650; this in turned spurred increased literacy, allowing the middling sort to engage in cultural and political criticism within the “public sphere.” A burgeoning widespread print and visual culture produced maps in both manuscript and print that adhered to a common aesthetic of layout and design. This aesthetic leaned initially toward the vocabulary of the rococo and trompe-l’oeil and veered to the neo-classical by the end of the period, sometimes eschewing decoration completely. Calls for a “plain” aesthetic, with decorative and pictorial features concentrated in the map periphery, were part of general Enlightenment rhetoric. By emphasizing the long eighteenth century as a period in which makers and users of maps struggled with issues of truth, exactitude, and authority, Volume Four breaks with the traditional understanding of the eighteenth century as the period when cartography became “scientific.”

The exponential increase in cartographic activity after 1650 (the approximate end date of Volume Three), which gave rise to many more artifacts, archives, agencies, techniques, uses, and users, has not generated a comparable increase in historical interest and study. In addition, the narrow and primarily national scope of many potential authors’ interests does not provide sufficient foundation for the broad, cross-national syntheses required for the increasingly international character of modern mapmaking. Volumes Four, Five, and Six, therefore, are structured as large, multi-level, interpretive encyclopedias. Their page size and general appearance will be the same as the first three volumes of the History. They will have the same density of illustrations as earlier volumes, but will be reproduced in full color.


 

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Umrisse der Pflanzengeographie by Heinrich Berghaus, 1838
Umrisse der Pflanzengeographie by Heinrich Berghaus, 1838
Full caption and link to 320 Kb image

Volume 5: Cartography in the Nineteenth Century
(Forthcoming)

Roger Kain, Editor
Imre Demhardt and Carla Lois, Coeditors
Peter Collier, Associate Editor

The nineteenth century was the era of cartography. Mapmaking was so rapidly institutionalized, specialized, and professionalized that a neologism had been coined for it by the 1820s: “cartography.” From the 1850s, the institutions and practices of this formalized cartography became increasingly international, intersecting across Europe and the Atlantic and being introduced to traditional Asian societies. With Enlightenment debates over observation and measurement rendered moot by ever more efficacious instrumentation and associated statistical modeling, mapping practices became more uniform, and the topographic survey plan, the exemplar of technological certitude, became the prototypical map. Governments and administrations of Europe’s reorganized and industrializing states committed significant resources to establish permanent mapping organizations in order to sustain increasingly intense territorial control both at home and (less successfully) in the overseas empires. The intersections with scientific inquiry were found in new governmental programs to gather data about both society and environment, the better to regulate them; this led to an explosion of thematic mapping to enable a variety of private and public investigators to visualize and understand state territories. Map consumption continued to expand as economic growth, the flourishing of national fervor, increased travel and tourism, mass education with prescribed curricula, introduction of cheaper printing techniques (lithography, stereotyping, etc.), and the wholesale creation of new urban and interurban infrastructures all led to widespread cartographic literacy, map use, the growth of corporate mapmakers. The genteel public sphere was displaced by the mass politics of industrializing societies. The industrialized spirit of the nineteenth century extended to the aesthetics of map design, in part determined by the new print technologies and the eventual introduction of color printing, often exhibiting lush Romantic and Victorian tastes and experimenting with a profusion of typefaces developed by the new foundries.

The exponential increase in cartographic activity after 1650 (the approximate end date of Volume Three), which gave rise to many more artifacts, archives, agencies, techniques, uses, and users, has not generated a comparable increase in historical interest and study. In addition, the narrow and primarily national scope of many potential authors’ interests does not provide sufficient foundation for the broad, cross-national syntheses required for the increasingly international character of modern mapmaking. Volumes Four, Five, and Six, therefore, are structured as large, multi-level, interpretive encyclopedias. Their page size and general appearance will be the same as the first three volumes of the History. They will have the same density of illustrations as earlier volumes, but will be reproduced in full color.


 

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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Details and more imagery are available from The Visible Earth, which
is part of the EOS Project Science Office located at NASA Goddard
Space Flight Center. The following link will open in a new window:
visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=9778.


Volume 6: Cartography in the Twentieth Century
(Forthcoming spring 2015)

Mark Monmonier, Editor
Peter Collier, Karen Cook, Jon Kimerling, Joel Morrison, Associate Editors


The twentieth century was the era of global mapping. With global competition and war among the industrialized and imperial states, mapping practices became more nearly ubiquitous. The need to harness and regulate domestic economies in support of this global competition made mapping a fundamental activity of government administration; the visualization of spatial phenomena became its common currency. At the same time, new technologies, notably aerial photography and later satellite sensing, allowed the industrial world to implement what was only imagined in earlier centuries: the transformation of terrae incognitae into known and mapped spaces. Conversely, as modern mapping practices permeated all corners of the industrial societies and of many of the non-industrial societies as well, they became increasingly specialized, and communities of map consumers became increasingly differentiated. This diffuse process was exacerbated by a proliferation of aesthetic styles, variously deployed by different mapping communities. Digital technologies, such as electronic navigation systems and the internet, were driven initially by defense needs. By the very end of the century, however, they had spawned new dynamic and communal cartographies that further extended and realigned the communities of map producers and consumers.

The exponential increase in cartographic activity after 1650 (the approximate end date of Volume Three), which gave rise to many more artifacts, archives, agencies, techniques, uses, and users, has not generated a comparable increase in historical interest and study. In addition, the narrow and primarily national scope of many potential authors’ interests does not provide sufficient foundation for the broad, cross-national syntheses required for the increasingly international character of modern mapmaking. Volumes Four, Five, and Six, therefore, are structured as large, multi-level, interpretive encyclopedias. Their page size and general appearance will be the same as the first three volumes of the History. They will have the same density of illustrations as earlier volumes, but will be reproduced in full color.


 

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Last Updated: 29 April 2014.