Cartographies of Africa and Asia (1800–1945).
A Project for the Digitization of Maps of the Perthes Collection Gotha

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Cartographic Orientalism

Picture in your mind’s eye a map of the world. If asked to point to Asia, where does your finger land? The answer to this question has shifted throughout the centuries, depending on who you were and where you lived. For European cartographers of the early to mid-nineteenth century responsible for representing the vast territory also known as the “Orient,”...

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Pics Or It Didn’t Happen – Part III

Digitizing Maps: Availability vs. Authenticity? In the third and final part of our editorial, we will engage with the opportunities and challenges of the digitization of historical maps. Since we decided to publish the maps of Africa and Asia of the Perthes Collection online, this short article ends with our reasoning of their benefits, and how the presentation of the...

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Pics Or It Didn’t Happen! – Part II

About the Perthes Collection, Its History and Artefacts While last week we pondered about the implications of research on maps, their unique value and specific histories, this week’s entry will concentrate on the archive, at which our project is located, specifically: The Perthes Collection. This collection is relatively unknown among historians in general but enjoys a solid reputation among a...

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Pics Or It Didn’t Happen! – Part I

Why digitize historical maps of Africa and Asia? “Pics or it didn’t happen!” has become a proverb of internet culture in cases when someone demands visual—specifically, photographic—proof of seemingly unrealistic claims. Even in the face of innovations like “deep fakes,” visual images still have the power to convince. It might even be said when it comes to maps, which, although...

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About This Blog

Mapping Africa and Asia How were maps of Africa and Asia produced in 19th-century Europe? What knowledge contributed to their development? Which factors affected their design and structure? How did concepts of globality and territoriality inform map designs?  And what role did colonial imaginaries and fictions play in the process? Was a ‘European’ or even ‘German’ gaze inscribed into map...

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