The map is a fundamental artifact of human culture. It documents how people understand the spaces in which they live, the relationship between nature and society, and the shape of the surrounding world. This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the history of cartography that ranges across the globe from the oldest surviving images of space and place to GIS systems. Anchored by an interactive digital atlas of 100 core maps, our course approaches mapping from a variety of perspectives, including the history of science, art history, the psychology of wayfinding, and the history of empire. Readings include Jerry Brotton’s A History of the World in 12 Maps, excerpts from the landmark History of Cartography series, and a number of innovative online visualizations of maps, data, and geography.
Edelson, S. Max
This graduate colloquium offers an introduction to themes, regions, and debates in the history of colonial and Revolutionary America. It will focus on colonization, development, and cultural encounter in early North America, West Indies, and the Atlantic World in the early modern period, ca. 1600-1800, from a variety of historical approaches.
This course examines the origins and development of colonial British America. Lectures focus on geography, politics, culture, economy, and society in North America and the Caribbean, ca. 1584 - 1783. Readings offer first-hand accounts of colonial experiences as well as historical models of analysis and interpretation. We study the emergence of regions and work to understand how each place fits into a wider Atlantic world populated by Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans. Students will learn to see early America with new eyes as a dynamic space that spanned islands and continents. Topics include first colonial foundlings, plantation slavery, cartography, criminal justice, transatlantic trade, agriculture and environment, imperial competition, Anglo-Indian frontier war, material culture, gender and society, and the origins of the American Revolution.
This weekly discussion-based colloquium, open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students, examines economic life in colonial and Revolutionary America. Our readings will features works of history that describe economic behaviors and, at the same time, interpret production, trade, and consumption in cultural terms. Our “textbook” for the course will be John J. McCusker and Russell R. Menard’s The Economy of British America, 1607-1789 supplemented by articles and chapters that place British American economic life in a transatlantic and global context. In addition to books and articles about "farm building" in early Maryland, agricultural technology in the Carolina Lowcountry, the commercial innovations of London and Philadelphia merchants, the slave trade, economic ideas in Puritan New England, the Caribbean sugar economy, the organization of the wine and fish trades, the business of piracy and privateering, and other topics, we will discuss recently published works on the relationships between slavery and capitalism that will extend our focus into the nineteenth century. Assignments include book reviews and a document interpretation report that makes use of a new digital resource, the Colonial America database.