The European Enlightenment, the period from ca 1650 to ca 1800 treated in Volume Four, might be called the era of the map. It was characterized by several key themes. As a form of knowledge, “map” proliferated as a metaphor exemplifying the construction of knowledge in general. 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 to support cartographic endeavors. Government and administrative institutions increasingly relied on maps in order to regulate and control their territories. A burgeoning widespread print and visual culture produced maps in both manuscript and print that adhered to a common aesthetic of layout and design. Calls for a “plain” aesthetic, with decorative and pictorial features concentrated in the map periphery, were part of general Enlightenment print rhetoric. Increasingly, conventional standards of design and presentation also affected topographical and other large scale mapping in manuscript.
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”and explores the period’s broad range of mapping practices across all regions, their experience of continuity and change, and their impact on society. Volumes Four, Five, and Six are structured as large, multi-level, interpretive encyclopedias.
Volumes Four, Five, and Six are structured as large, multi-level, interpretive encyclopedias. They are similar in page size and general appearance to the first three volumes of the History, with the same density of illustrations but with full color reproductions.
About the Editors
Matthew H. Edney has directed the History of Cartography Project at the University of Wisconsin–Madison since 2005. Since 2007 he has also held the Osher Chair in the History of Cartography at the University of Southern Maine, which he joined in 1995 as faculty scholar in the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education and where he teaches in the department of Geography-Anthropology. Broadly interested in the nature and history of maps and mapping, Prof. Edney’s current research focuses on colonial British North America and New England.
Mary Sponberg Pedley has been associated with the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library since 1984. Her undergraduate degree is in Classical Studies (Greek and Latin) and her Ph.D. is in Geography from the University of London. Her research interests focus on map production and commerce in eighteenth-century France and England. In addition to being editor of Volume 4, she is also the associate editor of Imago Mundi: The International Journal of the History of Cartography and the assistant curator of maps at the Clements Library.
Robert W. Karrow, Jr. was curator of special collections and maps in the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at the Newberry Library. He has authored or edited numerous books about maps and the history of mapping, including Maps: Finding Our Place in the World (with Jim Akerman) and Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and their Maps.
Sarah Tyacke is a Distinguished Senior Research Fellow, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and Chair of the International Records Management Trust. She was Keeper of Public Records and Historical Manuscripts Commissioner for the UK government and Chief Executive of The National Archives of England and Wales from 1992-2005, and was responsible for the establishment of The National Archives in 2003.
Dennis Reinhartz is professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he spent 35 five years as a professor of history and Russian. He has edited and contributed chapters to numerous academic books, including Mapping of Empire: Soldier-Engineers on the Southwest Frontier and The Mapping of the American Southwest.