The Power of Maps and the Politics of Borders–
This three-day conference will be held in conjunction with the APS Museum’s exhibit, Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic, which traces the creation and use of maps from the mid-eighteenth century through the early republic to show the different ways in which maps produced and extended the physical, political, and ideological boundaries of the new nation while creating and reinforcing structural inequalities.
While the exhibit and conference are focused in particular on the early American republic, it will include topics like:
- The forms of power expressed by maps and through the process of mapmaking in the Atlantic World
- The politics of borders as symbols of conflict, contestation, negotiation, and peace during the American Revolution
- The role of maps in state-building efforts and in constructing a sense of nationhood during the early national period, while also serving as a means of disempowerment and exclusion
- The varied uses of maps as diplomatic tools, as legal documents, as works of art, as assertions of sovereignty, and in other ways during the Age of Atlantic Revolutions
- The different forms of cartographic knowledge that existed in colonial and revolutionary North America
- The labor, skills, technologies, and publications used in the creation and dissemination of maps in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
- The various ways maps were read in the early republic and are interpreted today by scholars and others
- The role of maps and other cartographic tools in enabling or hindering scientific expeditions, and the ways in which new scientific thinking shaped maps and mapmaking in the Enlightenment.