New Release: CONSTRUCTING REGIONS, CONFLICTING LINES, CHANGING PLACES. Cartographic perspectives on East Central Europe
CHRISTIAN LOTZ / PAUL GRÜNLER
Poster / folded map in the series Discovering East Central Europe, Herder Institute Publisher 2021.
Maps influence our spatial thinking and our idea of a particular settlement or area. At the same time, these ideas guide us when we think about a city or region, and when we write texts or draw new maps of it. Does a map show region as densely populated or as empty space? Is a country seemingly rich in resources? Is the infrastructure well developed or not?
The poster features maps from the holdings of the Herder Institute in Marburg. Often, these maps present an obvious message, but many maps carry subtexts or hidden stories. This is not the only reason why maps are a fascinating source for many projects, and why they also pose a challenge for critical examinations.
Curious? Then simply have a closer look into the poster material!
Maps are persuasive arguments. They illustrate, more effectively than a text, the spatial relationships between objects or phenomena. For this purpose, it is necessary for them to have one thematic focus, because not all aspects of the earth’s surface can be brought into a single map. On the one hand, the potential of a map lies in this focussing, but, on the other hand, it is also the starting point for critical questions: What kind of data was used to produce the map? What was the intention of the map’s authors when choosing the topic and the method of presentation?
The production of a map is a complex process involving actors from various fields (cartography, publishing,
public authorities, companies, science and research, etc.). This process is also about power relations and knowledge, as map authors deliberately create, structure and select the material that is used for map production; they also decide what is to be shown on the map, and what should not be seen. The visual power of maps and the various contexts in which maps were (and are) produced and used make them a fascinating object of study with links to a wide variety of research questions and topics.