About Re-Mapping Sovereignty

The Re-Mapping Sovereignty Conference was organized by Frances & Charles Field Professor in History Kären Wigen, Martin W. Lewis, Senior Lecturer in History, and Yuki Hoshino. It was held May 26-27 online and in-person at the David Rumsey Map Center. A physical exhibition, of which this is the digital companion, will be on display in the Center from May 23 - October 28, 2022.

This event brought together twelve historically-minded scholars to critique received models of political territoriality. Spread over two days, the panels engaged older maps, including many from the Rumsey collection, as well as contemporary cartography, including digital visualizations of past geopolitical orders.

The participants represented a range of disciplines—from art history and anthropology to history, geography, and political science—and their wide-ranging case-studies feature maps from Siberia, Mongolia, China, the Ottoman Empire, Central and Western Europe, and the Americas. Focusing on the contours of territorial power in the settings each scholar knows best, the talks shed light by turns on how premodern cartographers finessed political ambiguity; how ideologues and diplomats use maps to promote competing agendas; and contemporary innovations in re-mapping sovereignty, past and present.