Universität Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Valerio Larcher

The use of color in the "Spruner-Menke Historisch-geographischer Hand-Atlas zur Geschichte der Staaten Europas vom Anfang des Mittelalters bis auf die neueste Zeit" and "Hand-Atlas für die Geschichte des Mittelalters und der neueren Zeit"

The role of school historical atlases in developing nationalistic narrations has been extensively analyzed and stressed by many scholars in the field of historical atlases’ studies. The use of colors in cartography is also a widely-studied field since Jacques Bertin’s famous Sémiologie Graphique in 1967. In the book, Bertin defined the basic cartographic means of expression as graphic variables and regarded color as one of them.
The purpose of this project is to study how map coloration, possibly derived from the psychological theory of colors, has been used in the "Spruner-Menke Historisch-geographischer Hand-Atlas zur Geschichte der Staaten Europas vom Anfang des Mittelalters bis auf die neueste Zeit" and "Hand-Atlas für die Geschichte des Mittelalters und der neueren Zeit" for nationalistic propaganda purposes.
Without entering the subject of the importance of this book in the history of the historical atlases, it is worth saying that the Spruner-Menke has been deeply influential, even outside Germany. Moreover, Karl von Spruner was a fervent liberal nationalist and he is known for conveying nationalistic messages in his atlases. Given the importance of this atlas, the propagandistic messages communicated with its maps could have had a great significance and influence with the audience, especially with the young one. This study will analyze the use of colors in every map of every ‘changing’ edition of the Spruner-Menke (i.e. every edition that is not a simple reprint of the previous one). The core of the research is the possibility that the authors of the Spruner-Menke used colors in their maps to communicate nationalistic propaganda messages by adopting psychological, symbolic and optical theories of colors.

Kurzbiographie

Valerio Larcher achieved both his History Bachelor Degree (2011) and his Historical Sciences Master Degree (2014) at the University of Padua. He is a graduate student of the PhD Course in Historical, Geographical, Anthropological Studies of the Universities of Padua, Venice and Verona. His PhD project studies the depiction of South Tyrol in German and Italian Historical Atlases, more precisely, it analyses how Border Regions maps in Historical Atlases are used as cartographic workshop for nationalistic propaganda with a focus on the psychological use of color in cartography.
His main research field is the study and analysis of Historical Atlases, with particular reference to German and Italian ones. His other area of study is the ‘History and Video Games’ research field. In particular, he studies historical narrations development and influences in ‘Grand Strategy’ Video Games.

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