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HIS 146 — New Explorations in Maps from the Early Modern Era

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 3 weeks
Date(s): Apr 10—Apr 24
Time: 6:00—8:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 12
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $275
Instructor(s): Chet Van Duzer
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:00—8:00 pm (PT)
Apr 10—Apr 24
3 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 12
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Chet Van Duzer
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
How did a medieval cartographer in the early modern period go about creating a new image of the world? In this course, we will examine several exciting aspects of medieval and Renaissance maps, with an emphasis on how European cartographers went about making their maps. The subjects we will address are (1) the important question of whether cartographers added decoration to their maps out of a hesitancy to leave blank spaces on maps (horror vacui in Latin, or fear of emptiness); (2) an unusual type of mappaemundi, the so-called “V-in-square” mappaemundi, and a remarkable reimagining of this type in the 15th century; (3) early ideas about a southern polar continent long before the discovery of Antarctica, and their appearances on maps; (4) the spectacular manuscript world map made by the Italian cartographer Urbano Monte in 1587, the jewel of the collection at Stanford’s Rumsey Map Center; (5) changing ideas about the Atlantic Ocean from antiquity to the 16th century, as reflected in maps; and (6) an innovative use of hand stamps to create the decorations on some 16th-century nautical charts—an intriguing incursion of a print technology to save time in what were supposed to be hand-painted maps.

No experience with maps is necessary.

Historian of Cartography

Chet Van Duzer is a board member of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester, which brings multispectral imaging of manuscripts and cultural heritage objects to institutions around the world. He has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps; his books include Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps and Henricus Martellus’s World Map at Yale (c. 1491): Multispectral Imaging, Sources, and Influence. He completed a David Rumsey Research Fellowship at Stanford and the John Carter Brown Library, studying Urbano Monte’s manuscript world map of 1587.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.