Universität Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Stephen A. Walsh

Dr. Stephen A. Walsh

Naming the Void: Mapping the European Arctic in the Nineteenth Century

In my project, I investigate how the Polar Regions became the space of competing imperialist projects and lands that could be meaningfully possessed. Enlightenment explorers typically saw little use in the Arctic or Antarctic, but by World War I polar exploration had become an avenue of global contention. I would like to examine imperialism not as a product but a process by analyzing the nineteenth century cartography and geographic discourse about three of the most distant, uninhabited, and effectively unclaimed parts of Europe: Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land, and the Island of Jan Mayen. This Project will be first to submit the modern, allegedly “scientific” polar cartography of the nineteenth century to serious critical scrutiny. Unspoken claims of authority, not putative accuracy, will be the primary category of analysis. The Gotha Perthes Collection will form the primary source basis for this research. I plan to study the cartography and correspondence of August Petermann, editor of Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen (1855–1878). I will also work with the Perthes library and the many bequests held at Gotha. The result will bring further scholarly attention to the vital role that Gotha and Justus Perthes played as a focal point of geographic knowledge collection and distribution in the nineteenth century.




Nutzermenü und Sprachwahl