AHS 299-01: Mapping, Territory, and Identity in Colonial America and the Early Republic
In this one-credit pop up course, students will learn an appreciation of mapping as a means to construct images of territory and identity, in the particular case of colonial North America and the early Republic, and language and terminology appropriate to understand maps as complex socio-cultural constructions that variously combine perspectives of indigenous peoples, English and French colonists, and imperial bureaucrats. Students will attend an orientation and concluding session where they will have the opportunity to work with rare maps in the collections of the Osher Map Library, as well as three public lectures from visiting scholars.
Learning Objectives: What students will learn to do, know, and understand through this course
Students will learn an appreciation of mapping as a means to construct images of territory and identity, in the particular case of colonial North American and the early Republic, and language and terminology appropriate to understand maps as complex socio-cultural constructions that variously combine perspectives of indigenous peoples, English and French colonists, and imperial bureaucrats.
Students will also learn basic protocols for using a special collection (specifically USM’s Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education [OML]) and gain first-hand experience working with rare materials.
Activities: What students will do
All meetings and activities will take place, 10:30–11:45 a.m., on selected Saturday mornings, in 103 Glickman Library … this is the small lecture room beside the main entry to the Osher Map Library, off the Glickman Library’s arcade.
The days are February 10th, and 17th, and March 3rd, 17th, and 24th.
Activities fall into four phases:
1) Orientation. An initial meeting on 10 February 2018, will introduce students to maps of colonial North America and the early Republic. No reading is required for this orientation, just an open mind to discuss the nature and historical significance of a selection of early maps (consulted in the original) of relevance to the lectures in phase 2. This orientation will also include brief guidance to the students about what to pay attention to in each lecture.
2) Public Lectures. Students will attend at least two out of three public lectures, to be held in OML on Saturdays, in which leading map historians talk about their recent, innovative studies, having read a portion of each book beforehand:
2/17 – Jeffers Lennox (Wesleyan) – Homelands and Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690–1763 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017). • read: chapter 3, “A Time and a Place,” re indigenous/French/English relations pre-1745
3/3 – Max Edelson (Virginia) – The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2017) • read: chapter 4: “Marking the Indian Boundary,” re the “Proclamation Line” of 1763 that separated English colonists from indigenous peoples
3/17 – Martin Brückner (Delware) – The Social Life of Maps in America, 1750–1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, 2017) • read: chapter 4: “Public Giants: Re-Staging Power and the Theatricality of Maps,” re the display of maps in the early Republic
3) Wrap up. A final meeting on 24 March 2018, will give students a venue to discuss the same original maps from the orientation meeting, but now with the benefit of having read and learned from three leading map historians. The meeting will address how their understanding of those maps has changed, and review key terms and concepts from the three lectures.
4) Paper: Students will select one or two maps from those discussed in phases 1 and 3 and will write a 5–6 page paper about how they understand those maps in light of the lectures and discussions.
Students will be evaluated according to their attendance at the lectures and class meetings and their engagement with the ideas and material, as evident in the final meeting but more especially in the paper.