Nebenzhal Lectures announced: "Redrawing the World: 1919 and the HIstory of Cartography" | Newberry

Nebenzhal Lectures announced: "Redrawing the World: 1919 and the HIstory of Cartography"

American Committee for the Independence of Armenia, New York, 1919

The Hernan Dunlap Smith Center is pleased to announce the twentieth series of the Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography, to be held at the Newberry Library on 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.

1919 was a year of 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.

As always, the Nebenzahl Lectures are free and open to the public. However, we do require advance reservation.. To register, please contact Madeline Crispell at or (312)-255-3575.


  • Mirela Altic, University of Zagreb, Drafting the State of the South Slavs: New Cartography for a New Order
  • Lindsay Frederick Braun, University of Oregon, Mapping a New Vision of Britain’s African Empire, 1919-1939
  • Daniel Foliard, University of Paris, Nanterre, “More than one Palestine”: Nationalist Cartographies, the Middle East and the 1919 Peace Negotiations in Paris
  • Jason Hansen, Furman University, Cartographies of Victimhood: Envisioning the Nation after the Paris Peace Treaties of 1919-1920
  • Tze-ki Hon, City University of Hong Kong, From Connectivity to Geobody: the 1919 Moment and China’s Role in the World
  • Peter Nekola, Luther College, Science and Reasoning in the Delegation Maps of 1919: Humans’ Last and Greatest Attempt to Naturalize Borders, Nations, and Territories
  • William Rankin, Yale University, Mapping, Science, and War
  • Steven Seegel, University of Northern Colorado, Skin, Lines, Borders: Geographic Expertise and the Mapping of Eastern Europe in 1919
  • Penny Sinanoglou, Wake Forest University, Lines of Control, Lines of Contestation: Cartography and British Imperial Politics in the Middle East Mandates, 1919-1948

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