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Rehabilitating Historical Map

An article posted on 13 August 2020 by Matthew Edney on his blog entitled Mapping as Process - A blog on the study of mapping processes: production, circulation, and consumption.

It’s time to end a confusing prescription good only for academic gate-keeping. Some years ago, I was in a meeting with a group of colleagues, most of them map historians of long standing, and all good friends (of mine and of each other). In the middle of some discussion, the one younger colleague in the room referred to our field of study as “historical cartography.” Immediately, all the rest of us shared a knowing look and re-asserted our communal superiority. None of us said anything to correct the speaker—that would have been too embarrassing. Rather, we sat secure and self-satisfied that we knew the proper term for the field: “the history of cartography.” To refer to the field as “historical cartography” meant that our young colleague was either intellectually conservative or unable to get with the line with several decades of conceptual change and debate (not the case) or a complete newb.

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