Early American Cartographies

Martin Brückner
Cloth price: $80
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Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: OIEAHC
Cloth/Hardcover Publication Date: 12/2011
Pages: 504
Cloth ISBN: 9780807834695
Ebook ISBN: 9780807838723


Maps were at the heart of cultural life in the Americas from before colonization to the formation of modern nation-states. The fourteen essays in Early American Cartographies examine indigenous and European peoples’ creation and use of maps to better represent and understand the world they inhabited.

Drawing from both current historical interpretations and new interdisciplinary perspectives, this collection provides diverse approaches to understanding the multilayered exchanges that went into creating cartographic knowledge in and about the Americas. In the introduction, editor Martin Bruckner provides a critical assessment of the concept of cartography and of the historiography of maps. The individual essays, then, range widely over space and place, from the imperial reach of Iberian and British cartography to indigenous conceptualizations, including “dirty,” ephemeral maps and star charts, to demonstrate that pre-nineteenth-century American cartography was at once a multiform and multicultural affair.

This volume not only highlights the collaborative genesis of cartographic knowledge about the early Americas; the essays also bring to light original archives and innovative methodologies for investigating spatial relations among peoples in the western hemisphere. Taken together, the authors reveal the roles of early American cartographies in shaping popular notions of national space, informing visual perception, animating literary imagination, and structuring the political history of Anglo- and Ibero-America.

The contributors are:
Martin Bruckner, University of Delaware
Michael J. Drexler, Bucknell University
Matthew H. Edney, University of Southern Maine
Jess Edwards, Manchester Metropolitan University
Junia Ferreira Furtado, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil
William Gustav Gartner, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Gavin Hollis, Hunter College of the City University of New York
Scott Lehman, independent scholar
Ken MacMillan, University of Calgary
Barbara E. Mundy, Fordham University
Andrew Newman, Stony Brook University
Ricardo Padron, University of Virginia
Judith Ridner, Mississippi State University

About The Author

Martin Bruckner is associate professor of English and material culture studies at the University of Delaware.


“All those interested in. . . the history of cartography will find a number of articles in this volume to their liking. Those interested in early American cartography will want to add this book to their personal libraries.”–The Portolan

“Bruckner assembled a talented set of contributions from university departments of English, history, geography, art history and romance languages. . . . Many chapters in Early American Cartographies should have a wide readership.”–Journal of Historical Geography

“A remarkable success. . . . [Its] greatest strength is the creativity to be found in making maps more complicated and broadening our definitions of what a map can be.”–Journal of Southern History

“A major addition to the growing field of critical cartography.”–Winterthur Portfolio

“[A] rich collection.”–New West Indian Guide

“Better than any other study, this remarkable collection elucidates the complex dynamics that determined what kinds of–and whose–Americas were put on maps during the long colonial era.”–Pekka Hamalainen, University of California, Santa Barbara

“This volume will transform scholars’ own mental maps of the early American geographical imagination.”–Neil Safier, University of British Columbia

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