Cartography from the Early Modern to the Digital Age

Mapping is an art, a science, and a cultural practice. This course not only surveys the history of cartography from the seventeenth century to the present, but also challenges students to integrate the lessons of historical mapping and analysis into original mapping products using geospatial software. It introduces students to broad themes in the production, meaning, and implications of mapping and applies them to the history of humanity’s relationship with the environment. How does mapping represent, shape, or distort our surroundings? What role has cartography played in defining and controlling people and places and how have these themes changed across time? How has the widespread availability of digital mapping applications challenged or reinforced these historic trends? In this course, students will not only gain an historical grounding in mapping and mapmaking, but they will gain the skills necessary to create and critique their own digital maps using geographic information systems.

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