Map Workshop Day

Please Note: Journal #8 is due tomorrow at midnight. We will discuss Robert Gaddis’s entire book The Landscape of History in our next class on Tuesday, Nov 14. You should be reading it this week; here are the Discussion Questions we’ll be use for our class discussion. Note this is the SAME DAY that your Paper #2 is due, so plan out your time carefully so that you’re prepared with both on the same day.

Here are a couple of maps that I’ve come across recently for us to start with and consider.

Map of US with states labeled by how they’re ranked “worst” (Maps on the Web Tumblr)

What if the NY Subway Map stops were all named for women?

Current wind patterns, mapped onto the US

Could North America be re-mapped into 11 nations?

What if there were no gerrymandering?

After exploring those, spend some time exploring a few other links related to historical maps or mapping as a historical method. A recent article in Forbes magazine talks about how digital mapping helps us understand racism and the history of segregation, including:

David Rumsey Map Collection (Stanford University)
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (Boston Public Library)

Stanford also hosts the Mapping the Republic of Letters project from Dan Edelstein and Paula Findlen, tracing (and mapping) the trajectory of thousands of letters from the pens of European Enlightenment writers. Here’s a brief video explaining the project:

Other innovative projects work with recreating or layering historical maps, and creating digital environments of the past. Some examples include:

Practice of History: Maps

Please Note: we will discuss Robert Gaddis’s entire book The Landscape of History on Tuesday, Nov 14. You might want to start reading it this week; here are the Discussion Questions we’ll be use for our class discussion. Note this is the SAME DAY that your Paper #2 is due, so plan out your time carefully so that you’re prepared with both on the same day.

For the last of our “play in the sandbox” workshop weeks, we’ll look at maps and mapping. Maps are a fascinating set of sources that represent–and to some extent also determine–reality. A clip from the TV show The West Wing helps illustrate this nicely.

For Tuesday Nov 7, please read Stephens, Making Sense of Maps (like Making Sense of Letters and Diaries, it has multiple sections, please make sure you read the whole thing navigating with the red table of context box), plus Williams 9.3 and Chapter 16.

I also recommend you check out the Instagram feed of the Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library; every day they post an interesting historical map.

Practice of History: Government Documents

In this week’s Practice of History discussion and workshop, you’ll be learning about sources produced by, for, or about official governments, past or present. In class on Tuesday, I’ll also lend each person an issue of the AHA Perspectives On History newsletter to give us some additional material to discuss.

Ohio Supreme Court, Columbus Ohio. Photo Credit: Andrew F. Scott

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