Nick Bauch, Launching Enchanting the Desert, May 16, 2016


Upcoming Events:

Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography

October 19, 2017 - October 21, 2017

For more more information, go to the website here.

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Time in Space: Representing Time in Maps

November 10, 2017


“Time in Space: Representing Time in Maps” brings together senior scholars and curators to explore a major challenge for mapmaking: how can time be conveyed through the representation of geographical features? The visual techniques that we take for granted today, such as the stratigraphic map, required deep shifts in how people understood physical space, the passage of time, and aesthetics. Participants represent a broad range of academic backgrounds including geography, history, and art history, and will treat a variety of contexts, from East Asia to Europe to the Americas. This conference will pave the way for an illustrated volume with the University of Chicago Press, the leading publisher in history of science and cartography. Members of the public are warmly invited to participate in the opening session, “Mapping Time,” on the afternoon of Friday, November 10, 2017. Please register here.


For further information, please contact the conference’s graduate coordinator: Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein,


Friday, November 10: Free and Open to the Public


1:15 pm: Welcome and Introduction

Kären Wigen & Caroline Winterer, Stanford University


Mapping Time (1:30-4:30 pm)


1:30-2:15 pm: Lifting the Veil of Time: Maps, Metaphor, and Antiquarianism (17th-18th c.)

Veronica Della Dora, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor Della Dora explores the metaphor of the veil on maps and their frontispieces between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Images of veils, mantles, and curtains proliferated as the European geographical imagination assimilated the results of exploration and discovery. With the rise of antiquarianism in this same time period, maps themselves become veils shrouding and revealing ancient pasts. Professor Della Dora probes the various cartographic guises of the veil until the early nineteenth century when time itself became, in Schopenhauer’s words, the thinnest veil of all.


2:15-3:00 pm: The Art and Science of Deep Time, 1800-1900

Caroline Winterer, Stanford University

Professor Winterer explores the visual means by which nineteenth-century artists and scientists attempted to explain the new idea of “deep time”: that Earth was not 6,000 years old, as a literal reading of the Bible suggested, but in fact millions of years old. Taking seriously the complaints of deep time’s early advocates that so vast a stretch of time was literally inconceivable to the human mind, she shows how geologists, cognitive scientists, and landscape painters wrestled with the human brain’s apparent incapacity to ponder the very long span of time over which Charles Darwin and others now agreed that it had evolved. Arguing that the problem of visualizing deep time in space spread far beyond mapmaking, she will explore visualizations across a variety of map and non-map media: American maps of geological strata, William James’s diagram of the brain’s “stream of consciousness,” and the lake paintings of the Hudson River School.


3:00-3:45 pm: Mapping Time in the 20th (and 21st) Century

Bill Rankin, Yale University

Professor Rankin rallies a defense of maps’ power to convey time. The rise of digital humanities and spatial history has threatened conventional maps with claims that their 2D nature cannot represent movement. Professor Rankin broadens our temporal vocabulary by examining maps from the last century and a half and their makers’ various strategies for representing time. He shows that the conventional notion of a “static” map actually represents a very narrow type of mapmaking and reframes the issue of cartographic time. The question is not whether a map is “static” or “dynamic,” but how it constructs categories of “timeless” or “historical.” 

3:45-4:30pm : Audience discussion

David Rumsey Map Center Use Guidelines 

Past Events

  • May 20th, 2017, 8.30 am - 9 pm: California Map Society Meeting (One Day Conference, including map talks): Registration and fees. Please visit this page for details.
  • May 4th, 2017, 6 pm: Essay Competition Winner + Richard Brown and Paul Cohen Talk: Free, but registration required. Please Visit this page for details.