HTY 265: The Power of Maps

Instructor: Professor Anne Knowles

Days/Time:  MWF, 12:00-12:50pm

Course Number: 50073

Location: Stevens Hall 365

Description: Humans have been making maps for thousands of years, but never before were maps as present in everyday life as they are today. Just think of the GPS in cars and the locator apps on our phones. It is more important than ever that we understand maps, how they are made, and how they have shaped society, from guiding imperial expansion to influencing urban development, land use, tourism, and surveillance. This course teaches students the history of maps and map-making from the first rock carvings of ancient cities to Google Earth and smart bombs. Major topics will include how maps have been essential tools for government, warfare, territorial control, social and economic planning, and artistic expression. We will explore how map-making technology has changed over time, the drive for increasing accuracy, and how the design of maps reflects the cultures that produce them. Students will also learn how to make their own maps to tell a spatial historical narrative. Most broadly, this course will teach students how to read maps as rich aesthetic, cultural documents that are fascinating windows on the past.