HIST 5316F: Maps, Mapping, and Historiographical Praxis
Fall 2024 

Instructor: John C. Walsh

Introduction: What does it mean to encounter a map in an archive?  And what is a “map” and what constitutes an “archive” in these encounters? How have historians understood maps as historical evidence and also as narrative devices? Do maps have to lie in order to deceive? By exploring a wide range of cartographic histories related to Canadian pasts (from the 18th to 20th centuries) and applying the methodological, theoretical, and ethical lessons they teach, students will apply this learning to a focused research project. Students will have options for the final form their projects take, including but certainly not limited to essays, ArcGIS StoryMaps, exhibit proposals, or lesson plans for Grade 10 Ontario High School teachers.

A disclaimer: this is a course about expanding what might be possible and even, perhaps, necessary for how historians study and talk with maps. It is a course that will be relentlessly critical but also aspirational.

Class Format: We meet once / week in a three-hour block.  Class time will be devoted to discussing assigned readings and documentary films, but also to mini-workshops in applying our seminar discussions to historical materials related to maps and mapping practices.

Aims and Goals: Students will become familiar with the historiographical, epistemological, and ontological dimensions of studying maps and mapping practices. Indeed, beyond the specifics of our course materials, students will reflect on the limits and possibilities of knowing the past, and with this, the ethical and political freight that accompanies the doing, or praxis, of all historical research and representation.

Assessment: Attendance, Seminar Leadership, and Participation: 30%; Project Proposal: 10%; Conference Presentation: 10%;  Final Project: 50% 

Text:  Students will not be required to purchase any texts as all readings and screenings will be available through ARES in the library and / or via the course website at Brightspace.

Questions? Please email me at: john(dot)walsh(at)carleton.ca