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ERIC Number: EJ765166
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Innovative Ways to Look at New World Historical Geography
Raat, W. Dirk
History Teacher, v37 n3 p281-306 May 2004
The Cape Canaveral endeavor led the author to contemplate the history of cartography and the role of geographers and historians in describing the human-environment nexus. He was especially interested in the depiction of the Americas by world historians and geographers. He wanted to answer the question, "How do world historians and geographers conceptualize the western hemisphere in textbooks?" In answering this question it soon became obvious to him that a tradition of Eurocentric scholarship characterized most of the global conceptions of historians and geographers. Jeremy Black notes that the problem of Eurocentrism in mapmaking, while increasingly recognized by scholars since 1945, continues today with the publication of territorial historical atlases and "first world" atlases in which Europeans and North Americans dominate the research and publishing. In treating the question of Eurocentrism in world cartography, the author organizes this essay into three parts. First, he illustrates an indigenous tradition of American mapmaking by comparing the "mappae mundi" (world maps) of Mesoamerica and medieval Europe (in particular, the TO map of Europe). Not only do the pre-literate and literate societies of the Americas have a cartographical tradition, but their history of mapmaking is similar to that of the Old World. This he follows with two case studies: The Eurocentric tradition represented by the Mercator Projection is described, and he recommends that Mercator (and the Eurocentric tradition) be revised by substituting several applications of Miller's cylindrical projection in the classroom. Finally he argues for an abandonment of the sevenfold categorization of the earth into "continents," and its replacement with a regional scheme in which the Americas are divided into nine zones that reflect more adequately than the continental scheme the historical, geographical, economic, and cultural realities of Greater America. (Contains 10 figures and 33 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A