The age of maps : cartography, imperialism and nationalism in Great Britain and France, 1870-1914

Avila, I 2012, The age of maps : cartography, imperialism and nationalism in Great Britain and France, 1870-1914 , PhD thesis, Universite Paris XIII/University of Salford.

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How are maps used in a specific country at a given time? In this thesis, I argue that maps should be given greater prominence in historical analysis because they give us a fresh outlook on the past by informing us about representations of the world. To prove this point, I explore the links between cartography, imperialism and nationalism in Great Britain and France between 1870 and 1914. I provide an original view of the turn of the twentieth century by articulating three different approaches: a cartographic one, a comparative one and a panoramic one (due to the variety of the published materials analyzed from geographical journals to atlases, text-books and newspapers). From this history of cartographic thinking, three things emerge. First, British and French geographers converted maps into scientific and political symbols in order to underline the need to study geography from 1870-71 in France and from 1884 in Britain. Second, they disseminated these symbols and a new cartographic mode of thinking about the world to a wide audience thanks to new printing devices and the spread of education with the hope of forming citizens. Finally, they were able to use maps of empire more specifically to promote nationalism. My conclusion is two-fold. First, the comparative nature of the study reveals a process of imitation between the two nations in exploration, imperialism, geography teaching and the contents of their maps. Second, the use of maps became so important between 1870 and 1914 because the two countries faced periods of doubts linked to an economic depression, international rivalries, the scramble for colonies, the Franco-Prussian War and the Boer War.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2021 13:07
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:23

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