Chet Van Duzer
Speaker Chet Van Duzer member, New York Map Society
Animals on Maps and Our Views of the World

Tuesday, April 9, 4:00 pm New York (EDT) time, Faculty House, Columbia University, Hybrid: Chet Van Duzer (member, New York Map Society) will speak on “Animals on Maps and Our Views of the World,” as Seminar 407 of “The Seminar in the Renaissance” “The history of human depictions of animals is as revealing about humans as it is about animals. In this talk I will examine a specific type of depictions of animals, namely those on maps made from the thirteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century, with a focus on animals of the Renaissance. The talk will begin with an introduction to the history of the illustration of animals in general, particularly the effects of the European discovery of New World animals, and the decline of emblematic interpretations of animals in favor of more observational representations. I will then examine several striking images of animals on maps, together with associated texts. Animals on maps can reveal the cartographer’s interest in geographic exotica, from supposedly knee-less elephants to squirrels that sail on pieces of bark. They can reflect the cartographer’s philosophy about the proper relationship between animals and humans. They can symbolize a region or indicate some of its most important resources, and indeed whole regions can be ascribed the shapes of animals, which demonstrates just how deeply involved animals are in our views and perceptions of the world. Moreover, the choices of animals that appear can reveal much about the mapmakers’ sources and processes—about their methods for constructing an image of the world.”

Register HERE for Zoom or in-person attendance.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
4 pm, Eastern (New York)
Zoom or in-person