cover of book

Mapping Nature across the Americas
edited by Kathleen A. Brosnan and James R. Akerman
University of Chicago Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-226-69657-7 | Cloth: 978-0-226-69643-0

Maps are inherently unnatural. Projecting three-dimensional realities onto two-dimensional surfaces, maps are abstractions that capture someone’s idea of what matters within a particular place; they require selections and omissions. It is these very characteristics, however, that give maps their importance in understanding how humans have interacted with the natural world and that give historical maps especially the power to provide rich insights into the relationship between humans and nature over time. That is just what is achieved in Mapping Nature across the Americas. Illustrated throughout, the essays in this book argue for the greater analysis of historical maps in the field of environmental history and for greater attention within the field of the history of cartography to the cultural constructions of nature contained within maps. This volume thus provides the first in-depth and interdisciplinary investigation of the relationship between maps and environmental knowledge in the Americas, from sixteenth-century indigenous cartography in Mexico to the mapping of American forests in the United States during the early conservation years of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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