Blog #6: Maps in early America

To be honest I was a bit surprised by the readings this week, as it seemed like the theme was one we had a number of times before: the power of maps to aid in colonial ventures and the political power of literally rubbing Indian civilizations “off the map.” The jump made in the latter part of the book, from maps suggesting the colonial power of Britain in the Americas to maps pursuing the concept of nation-building of the United States as a nation separate from Great Britain, was not a big stretch to make. In the end, the central concept: the historical use of maps as tools to further political aims, was the same as the readings we had earlier. To be honest this left me somewhat disappointed; for several weeks the readings had introduced a new concept every week. For this week to essentially be a repeat of previous themes was a bit of a let-down.

On the other hand, the readings serve ably to reinforce the massive political power inherent in maps, and how that power has been manipulated by numerous peoples to serve several different ends over the course of history. Maps do indeed have extremely strong political power. That much can never be questioned.

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2 thoughts on “Blog #6: Maps in early America

  1. I had the opposite reaction! I thought it was cool to see the correlations and see further the powers of maps, and to consider the use of maps for nation-building in addition to the destruction is a further angle of historic analysis.

  2. I read this book in an entirely different way. I thought Bruckner was suggesting that early colonial mapping practices worked against the British Methodologies. Thus the early colonial maps helped to diminish imperial power. While these practices allowed for a new power to come to rise, the suggestion that maps as a text do not work in one discursive direction was a newer insight into mapping practices.

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