S. Max Edelson
Speaker S. Max Edelson Professor of History, University of Virginia
Catawba Cartographies: Remapping the Indigenous Southeast, ca. 1670-1733


Location: In person event, Montpelier Room, 6th Floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress. Lectures will be available virtually via Library of Congress registration. (Arranged in conjunction with the Philip Lee Phillips Society, Library of Congress).

Lecture 2, 5:00 -6:00 pm

Title: Catawba Cartographies: Remapping the Indigenous Southeast, ca. 1670-1733

Speaker: S. Max Edelson, Professor of History, University of Virginia

Summary: English colonizers arrived in Kiawah—the Cusabo Indian region on the southeastern coast of North America—in 1670.  To promote their new colony, the Lords Proprietors of Carolina commissioned maps to proclaim English sovereignty, attract colonists, and reveal Indigenous people and places beyond the Atlantic coast.  The view of the Native world presented on these maps was deeply distorted.  Did Native Carolinians see these maps?  If so, how did they react to them?  In the 1720s, the Catawbas presented South Carolina’s governor with a painted deerskin showing Indigenous and European settlements in the region.  This lecture makes a case that the Catawba Deerskin Map sought to correct errors observed on English cartography and suggest a new political geography for the region.

Bio: S. Max Edelson is Professor of History at the University of Virginia, where he co-directs the UVA Early American Seminar.  His publications include Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina (2006) and The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence (2017).  His current research examines geographic knowledge, mapmaking, and colonization in seventeenth-century America.  He designed MapScholar, a web app for historic map visualization, and is developing digital projects focused on UVA’s Seymour I. Schwarz Collection of North American Maps, 1500-1800.

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Following the Library of Congress events, the Washington Map Society has arranged for an informal dinner at the nearby Hunan Dynasty Restaurant (215 Pennsylvania Ave., SE), starting at 6:30 pm. The cost will be $40.00 cash (including tax and tip). We need to provide the restaurant with a reasonably accurate count one week in advance. Please use the following link to make a reservation by April 24: https://washmapsociety.org/event-5663230/Registration

Thursday, May 2, 2024
5 pm, Eastern (New York)
Montpelier Room, 6th Floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress.