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Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era

Press Release 20 Jan 2021 - 22:02 SAST

Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era

Press Release 20 Jan 2021 - 22:02 SAST

By Kären Wigen and Caroline Winterer

Maps are often seen as representations of space, but are equally representations of time, argue Stanford historians Kären Wigen and Caroline Winterer in a new, edited volume. “Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era” includes essays from nine prominent cartography scholars who explore over 500 years of world history through maps.

Including over 100 colour maps and illustrations, as well as essays by Wigen and Winterer, the book grew out of the 2017 “Time in Space: Representing Time in Maps” conference. “The variety and originality of contributions to this volume is a leading indicator of how maps used as primary sources open entirely new perspectives into multiple disciplines” said historian Abby Smith Rumsey, who wrote a foreword for the book.

Organised geographically, the maps in the book are drawn from across the world, including China, Japan, Korea, pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, Europe and the United States. The scholars focused on the period after about 1450 when maps rapidly multiplied in quantity, variety and distribution and moved from being the purview of elites to ordinary objects used and acquired by travellers, soldiers, merchants, explorers and bureaucrats.

The book also focuses attention on how maps can be used to document non-physical elements of our world including language, describing how the notion of languages as conceptual maps was of great importance in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. These taxonomies were considered crucial to the disciplines of philosophy and natural philosophy. Essays in the book also address a major debate in the field about the value of traditional physical maps in the era of digital mapping, positing that there is an important role for both.

Table of content

Foreword by Abby Smith Rumsey
Introduction: Maps Tell Time by Caroline Winterer and Kären Wigen
Chapter 1: Mapping Time in the Twentieth (and Twenty-First) Century by William Rankin

Part I: Pacific Asia
Chapter 2: Orienting the Past in Early Modern Japan by Kären Wigen
Chapter 3: Jesuit Maps in China and Korea: Connecting the Past to the Present by Richard A. Pegg

Part II: The Atlantic World
Chapter 4: History in Maps from the Aztec Empire by Barbara E. Mundy
Chapter 5: Lifting the Veil of Time: Maps, Metaphor, and Antiquarianism in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by Veronica Della Dora

Part III: The United States
Chapter 7: The First American Maps of Deep Time by Caroline Winterer
Chapter 8: How Place Became Process: The Origins of Time Mapping in the United States by Susan Schulten
Chapter 9: Time, Travel, and Mapping the Landscapes of War by James R. Akerman

More info here