Thursday 1 July | 18:00-19:15 | Online

Maps are commonly seen as the sum of geographical knowledge at a particular moment in time. Each map divides the cartographic act into two epochs: the making of the thing, and then the reading or using of the thing. The static and stable normative map is thus the archetype of Bruno Latour’s immutable mobile. Attention to maps’ materiality reveals the dynamism of mapping: material maps circulate between producers and consumers. This presentation uses two case studies of geographical maps of New England, in books and on walls, to conclude that the study of maps’ materiality is essential to establishing their discursive context and therefore their interpretation.

Matthew H. Edney

Osher Professor in the History of Cartography, University of Southern Maine

Director, History of Cartography Project, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Matthew Edney studied geography at University College London (BSc 1983) and University of Wisconsin (MS 1985; PhD 1990). After teaching at SUNY Binghamton, he moved in 1995 to the University of Southern Maine, where he has since 2007 held the Osher Chair in the History of Cartography. From 2005, he has also directed the History of Cartography Project (HOC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has edited, with Mary Pedley, Cartography in the European Enlightenment (Chicago, 2019), volume 4 of the HOC. Edney’s work embraces the history of surveying, British imperial mapping, Enlightenment mapping, and historiography; his most recent book is Cartography: The Ideal and Its History (Chicago, 2019). For his current projects, see