Event—Public Programming

Time, Travel, and Mapping the Landscapes of War

Just as the conduct of war has, throughout modern history, necessitated the production of a massive cartographic archive, so have the geographical complexities of battlefields and campaigns defied the comprehension of battlefield tourists, in ways that would seem to call for purpose-made maps. The creation of maps for military tourists has nevertheless had an uneven history, subject to the availability of good sources and especially the influence of technology. The successful map must direct the tourist’s imagination toward the action of battle to the fullest extent possible while grappling with two problems: that the action has passed—it is not present—and that the landscape by which one might recall that past has changed over time. In this paper, Jim Akerman offers a preliminary survey of the representational tactics developed by guidebook authors and mapmakers over the past two centuries (primarily for American battlefield tourists) a particularly robust form of what we might call “time traveling”: travel directed at developing insights about past events by visiting the terrain where they unfolded.