Nebenzhal Lectures on the History of Cartography Lectures to Explore Maps of 1919 that Redrew the World | Newberry

Nebenzhal Lectures on the History of Cartography Lectures to Explore Maps of 1919 that Redrew the World

Ethnographical map of Hungary, 1928

Pal Teleki, Ethnographical map of Hungary based on the density of population (1928). Newberry Library, map6F G6501.E1 1928 .T4.

The Smith Center is pleased to announce that the 20th Kenneth Nebenzhal, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography, to be held at the Newberry Library from Thursday, November 7 through Saturday, November 9, 2019. This year’s series, titled “Redrawing the World: 1919 and the History of Cartography,” commemorates the centennial of the landmark Paris Peace Conference that led to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The series is being organized this year by Peter Nekola (Philosophy, Luther College). He has invited eight other scholars from around the world to present lectures pondering the geopolitical and cartographic impact of the treaty, which relied heavily on cartography in shaping its vision of the world and its future.

The year 1919 resulted in heightened map production around the world. It was a year of instability in what maps showed, and a year that saw new varieties of cartographic experimentation and idealization, many in support of attempts to solve the problems of a world that had nearly destroyed itself in four years of devastating war. Some cartographers worked to preserve a lasting peace for Europe and the world by defining what they thought to be appropriate—or at least pragmatic—political boundaries, while others saw the “Wilsonian moment” as a chance to claim what some maps had taught them was rightfully theirs. While the crux of this work took place at the peace negotiations in Paris or was done for the various delegations that gathered there, the normalization of modes of defining territory that the conference represented reverberated around the world, and continues to do so a century later.

In the quest for “self-determination,” the world map of the twentieth century became, for much of the world’s literate population, a mosaic of national “selves.” How did this take place, and what maps, cartographers, and contexts contributed to it? How are we, a century later, to make sense of its global legacy? These and related question will be addressed by nine specialists representing a broad range of geographical perspectives and contexts.

The year 1919 revolved around boundaries and maps, especially those produced immediately after the First World War to preserve the peace. These maps reflected the instability and the experimentation of a world attempting to solve the problems that had led to four years of devastating war. Some cartographers worked to preserve a lasting peace with their maps, while others redrew national boundaries, seeking what previous maps had taught them was rightfully theirs. While much of this cartographic work took place at the peace negotiations in Paris in 1919, its global legacy reverberates a century later.

Nine scholars will present lectures over three days on topics spanning the Easter Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Lecturers include Mirela Altic, University of Zagreb; Steven Seegel, University of Northern Colorado; Jason Hansen, Furman University; Daniel Foliard, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense; Penny Sinanoglou, Wake Forest University; Lindsay Frederick Braun, University of Oregon; Peter Nekola, Luther College; Hon Tze-ki, City University of Hong Kong; and William Rankin, Yale University.

To register for the lecture series, please email Madeline Crispell, Smith Center program assistant, at crispellm@newberry.org. To see previous iterations of the Kenneth Nebenzhal Lecture Series, click here.

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