A Map is Not a Picture: Seminar with Patricia Seed

Very are happy to announce a seminar with Professor Patricia Seed, UC Irvine. This is a short notice, but we hope that you will be to come to this talk! Professor Seed’s first-rate work is most interesting and we are lucky to have her visit.

[October 18, 1:15 pm CET]
A Map is Not a Picture: How the Digital World Threatens the Validity of Printed Maps
Patricia Seed, University of California at Irvine

Abstract: Most people take the accuracy of printed maps for granted. They assume, as I did until a few years ago, that maps in a printed book have been carefully vetted and reflect, or at least approximate, the original. However, it turns out that for the last three-quarters of a century, even famous map authorities have failed to verify the map images accompanying their texts. As digital scanning has become ever more precise, printed maps are increasingly shown to contain deeply misleading discrepancies. These differences have reached the point of discrediting arguments by leading writers in the field.

Bio: Captivated by all things map-related, Patricia Seed began creating her own maps with geographic software upon discovering that the type of map she wanted for a book (centered midway between North and South America) did not exist. American Pentimento (to her great surprise) won the national prize for Atlantic history, although she doubts the maps had much to do with it. However, she was hooked–and has been making maps ever since.

The problems she will discuss in the seminar gradually dawned upon her as she began moving between historical maps and modern digital techniques.

Earlier publications include To Love, Honor, and Obey in Colonial Mexico: Conflicts Over Marriage Choice, 1574-1821 (Stanford University Press, 1988), and Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640 (Cambridge University Press, 1995). In April 2013, the Oxford Map Companion to World History will be published.

The seminar is open to anyone interested. Feel free to sign up for the Facebook event (http://www.facebook.com/events/540273579331563/).

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