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Early American Cartographies$
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Martin Bruckner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834695

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838723_bruckner

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The Wrong Side of the Map? The Cartographic Encounters of John Lederer

The Wrong Side of the Map? The Cartographic Encounters of John Lederer

(p.145) The Wrong Side of the Map? The Cartographic Encounters of John Lederer
Early American Cartographies

Martin Brückner

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter defines the map as both a practical and ideological apparatus of empire. Since J. B. Harley proclaimed that early colonialist maps served “to prepare the way for European settlement,” it has become commonplace to note that maps were instruments of possession, displacement, and domination. As Harley—and many others since—argued, “Potential settlers see, on the map, few obstacles that are insurmountable,” because mapmakers neglected to “reflect the presence of indigenous peoples and their imprint on the land.” The presentation of a vast but cultivatable wilderness encouraged European readers to imagine foreign lands as unclaimed, uninhabited, and submissive, just waiting for their arrival. Harley himself was concerned not just with the mechanics of colonialism but also with their effects on native populations.

Keywords:   map, ideological apparatus, J. B. Harley, colonialist maps, European settlement, instruments of possession

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