Our everyday lives are saturated with maps. We use maps on our smart phones to help us navigate from place to place. Maps in the newspaper and online show us the spread of disease, the state of the planet, and the conflicts among nations.
's Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America
(University of Chicago Press, 2012) examines how the very idea of a map radically changed it the nineteenth century. Author Susan Schulten shows the pivotal role maps played in nineteenth-century American life, from helping Americans forge a national identity and better understand their past to showing the pervasiveness of slavery in different parts of the South and the prospect for emancipation. Those with a keen interest in cartography--or even a passing interest--will find her book and this interview fascinating.
Professor Schulten has also created an excellent companion site for the book, www.mappingthenation.com
. There you will find hi-resolution digital copies of the maps she examines in the book and that we discuss in our interview.