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Marcia Ann Kupfer
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar (Washington, DC 20015)
Medieval Cartographies: Christianizing the Orbis Terrarum

This book explores intersections between cartography and allied modes of representing space in the Middle Ages. Maps, monumental artistic programs, and ritual trajectories such as pilgrimages and itinerant liturgies constitute concomitant, mutually informative articulations of a self-consistent spatial order. On the model of recent historical inquiry into visuality, my study attends to a culturally-specific matrix of images, discourses and practices through which medieval spatiality comes into focus. Between the late eighth and fifteenth centuries, cartography significantly extended interest in geography as a branch of cosmology on the one hand and history on the other. In so doing, mapping made visible the concerted transformation of the orbis terrarum into an orbis christianus in the Western European imaginary. On account of the unique ways in which maps distill spatial ideation, they enable us to apprehend symbolic figurations actualized in art and ritual.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2010 – 12/31/2010