Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America

Date and Time: 

November 7, 2013 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

Simpson Center, Communications 206

We live in a culture saturated with maps, which can be made instantly to represent virtually any type of data. Technology makes this possible, but our contemporary use of maps is rooted in a fundamental shift that took place well over a century ago. Beginning in the nineteenth century Americans began to use maps not just to identify locations and represent the landscape, but also organize, display, and analyze information. Through maps of the environment, slavery, the census, epidemics, and even their own history, Americans gradually learned to view themselves and their nation in altogether new ways.

In this lecture, Susan Schulten speaks about her prize-winning book, Mapping the Nation (2012), which has been hailed as a model of hybrid digital publishing as well as a pathbreaking fusion of cultural, political, and geographical analysis.

Susan Schulten is the author of Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America (2012) and The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950 (2002), both published by the University of Chicago Press. In 2010 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her research on maps, and in 2013 Mapping the Nation was awarded the Hundley Prize from the American Historical Association’s Pacific Coast Branch. Since 2010 she has contributed to the “Disunion” series in the New York Times, which commemorates the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.

Learn more and explore dozens of historic maps at

Sponsored by the Department of History, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Department of Geography, and the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest.

*Free and Open to the Public