Cover image for Maps and history : constructing images of the past
Maps and history : constructing images of the past
Black, Jeremy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
267 pages : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D13 .B54 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Historical atlases offer an understanding of the past that is useful to historians, not only because they convey a previous age's sense of space and distance but also because they reveal what historians and educators of those periods thought important to include or omit. This book explores the role, development and nature of this reference tool and discusses its impact on the presentation of the past.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Someone once claimed "History is about chaps, geography is about maps." Black attempts to bridge these two perspectives by demonstrating the importance of maps and, in particular, collections of maps in atlases. Black's central thesis is that rather than being merely classroom wallpaper, text illustrations, or reference tools "akin to chronologies, dictionaries and encyclopedias," maps are themselves important sources of data. He also argues that the close relationship between the cartographic representation of the state and its interest in the representation and assertion of its power demands an appreciation of the "iconographic aspects of political and cultural authority" expressed in maps, and a critical appraisal of cartography as "a discourse of power." His analysis is much informed by J.B. Harley and D. Woodward's The History of Cartography (v.1: CH, Oct'87). But this is a magisterial work in its own right. Profusely illustrated (28 of the 50 are in color), thoroughly footnoted, and lavishly and delightfully produced, Black's work is a provocative piece of scholarship. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above. B. Osborne; Queen's University at Kingston