Event—Public Programming

Mapping as Performance

Over two days of lectures, this year's Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr. Lectures in the History of Cartography will address the ways in which people create and share maps through action in space.

Map of Teotihuacan, 1560. Call number: Ayer MS 1907

This program will be held in person at the Newberry and also livestreamed on Zoom. Please register below.

The Smith Center is pleased to announce that the 21st Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography will be held at the Newberry Library on Friday and Saturday, November 4-5, 2022. This year’s series, Mapping as Performance, considers the many ways people map through action in space.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Human Geography, the study of performative mapping “understands map-making and map-use as performative and embodied…. Performative mapping recognizes that maps are produced and used through a diverse set of practices—surveying, drafting, digitizing, scaling, generalizing, rolling, folding, marketing—contextualized by the politics and situation of those producing and using them.”

While this definition broadens what is meant by “mapping,” it still focuses on the processes associated with the creation and dissemination of traditional paper maps. In the past twenty years, a number of scholars in a variety of fields have examined how performances, ranging from on-stage performances to the movements of travelers, should be seen as forms of mapping.

In Mapping as Performance, we propose to bring together representative scholars from several fields to encourage an interdisciplinary dialogue about this concept.

This year’s lectures will feature papers and performances organized in four topical sessions on Friday, November 4 and Saturday morning, November 5:

  • Surveying as Performance
  • Performing Space, Place, and History in Indigenous North America
  • Mapping Dance
  • Travel as Mapping


Friday, November 4

9:15 – 11:15 AM Surveying as Performance

  • Ernesto Capello (Macalester College)
    Triangulating Shuyu: Commemorating and Contesting French Geodesy in the Ecuadorian Andes
  • Imre Josef Demhardt (University of Texas-Arlington)
    Surveys in the Sand: Performing Colonial Mapping in Southwestern Africa
  • Clinton Terry (Mercer University), Dan Patterson (photographer)
    Reenacting Surveying in Early America

​12:45 – 2:45 PM Performing Space, Place, and History in Indigenous North America

  • Jennifer Saracino (University of Arizona)
    The Ayer Map of Teotihuacan as Embodied Action & Performance
  • George Ironstrack (Miami University, Ohio), Cameron Shriver (Miami University, Ohio)
    Aacimwahkionkonci: Stories from the Land
  • Dallas Hunt (University of Alberta)
    Our Better Selves: Settler Replacement Narratives and Indigenous Futurities

3 – 5 PM Mapping Dance

  • Seth Stewart Williams (Barnard College of Columbia University)
    Choreography as Chorography in Early Modern England
  • Kate Elswit (University of London), Harmony Bench (Ohio State University)
    Mapping Movement on the Move, Ten Years On

Saturday, November 5

9:30 – 11:30 AM Travel, Mapping, and Performance

  • John Wyatt Greenlee (Cornell University)
    Mapping in Stages: Travel, Worldbuilding, and Memory in The Castle of Perseverance
  • Jordana Dym (Skidmore College)
    Retracing Travel: Mapping in Others’ Footsteps
  • Karen Lewis (Ohio State University)
    Enacting the Underground Railroad: Landscapes of Resistance and Ingenuity

Cost and Registration

Free and open to the public.

In-Person Registration


Contact Salma Geneidy at (312) 255-3582 or via email.


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