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Public events

Upcoming Events

Our programming includes regular talks, conferences, workshops, tours, and class visits. While our Center is currently closed, we have moved our programming online. 


Urbano Monte map

☄︎ Virtual Talk: Arman Kassam on "Mappaemundi as Self-Portrait: Deference and Dissidence in the Worlds of Guaman Poma and Urbano Monte"

Fri, October 23, 2:45-4:15 PT

Info & register here

 The California Map Society, in partnership with the David Rumsey Map Center, sponsors a student essay competition each year. The 2019-20 winner is Arman Kassam. In this talk, based on his winning essay, Arman will discuss the intersections between two different amateur cartographers on separate ends of the early 16th-century Spanish Empire. The stories of Urbano Monte, a Milanese nobleman engaged in a personal project concerning universal knowledge, and Guaman Poma, a Quechua nobleman who subversively asserted his right to territory in the Nueva Corónica, intertwine in unexpected ways. Both came from noble lineages, lived in territories recently brought under Habsburg control, and cared deeply about humanist erudition. Importantly, both also found in the world map a useful medium for their projects of political power and erudition. Rather than merely showing the differences of their interests, these amateur world maps reflect back on their authors as self-portraits, testaments to individuals finding themselves in an ever-globalizing world. 


Mapping indigenous Land book☄︎ Virtual Talk: Ana Pulido Rull on "Mapping Indigenous Land: Native Land Grants in Colonial New Spain"

Fri, November 6, 2:45-4:15 PT

Info & register here

Co-sponsored with the Center for Latin American Studies and the Native America Cultural Center.

Between 1536 and 1601, at the request of the colonial administration, indigenous artists from colonial Mexico crafted more than 200 maps to be used as evidence in litigation over land distribution. These land grant maps, or mapas de mercedes de tierra, tell the stories of hundreds of Natives and Spaniards who engaged in legal proceedings either to request land, to oppose a petition, or to negotiate its terms. Ana Pulido Rull spent various years examining these striking painted maps and reading the court records from the land disputes at the Mexican National Archives. In this talk, the author will narrate some of the stories she found most remarkable and will show that these maps did more than simply record the disputed territories for lawsuits: They also enabled indigenous communities to translate their ideas about the contested spaces into visual form; offered arguments for the defense of these spaces; and, in some cases, even helped protect indigenous land against harmful requests.


cosmology map☄︎ Virtual Talk: Nick Kanas on "Mapping the Heavens: Celestial Cartography from Ancient to Modern Times"

Fri, December 4, 2:45-4:15 PT

Info & register here

Nick Kanas will explore the evolution of celestial cartography. People have observed the night sky since antiquity in an effort to predict celestial events and understand their place in the universe. Many cultures organized the stars into heavenly patterns that reflected issues important to them. In ancient Greece, the stars were placed in constellations that were viewed as allegorical representations of classical Greek heroes, heroines, and monsters. These images formed the backbone of the cosmological and constellation maps that appeared in stunningly beautiful star atlases of the 17th and 18th Centuries. But telescopic and scientific needs called for more accuracy in star placement, and gradually the heavenly bodies were positioned in increasingly accurate coordinate systems superimposed on the sky. Constellation images became redundant, and they have largely disappeared in today’s modern star atlases.



☕︎Zoom office hours: Come with your questions!

Every Monday,  October 5 - December 7, 11am-12pm.

Info & link