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Grant number like: FEL-267539-20

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Jessica Maier
Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA 01075-1461)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021

The Cartography of Conflict: Maps, News, and the Visual Arts in Early Modern Europe

Preparation of a book on 16th-17th-century European prints depicting maps and battles that functioned as an early form of news reports.

This project addresses a treasure trove of material: scores of printed “news maps” of sieges and battles that proliferated in early modern Europe. Issued hastily by publishers in cities throughout Europe, these works depicted current events in their geographical context, reporting history as it unfolded. They are a key early form of the news—a visual form—that decisively shaped people’s views about conflict and external threat, and even influenced painted battle scenes in elite halls of state. Their implications for our understanding of early modern culture are considerable. News maps helped to build a sense of collective identity along proto-nationalist lines, while fueling a burgeoning awareness of contemporaneity: a notion that has been considered a hallmark of modernity. In probing these larger themes, this study will go beyond addressing a neglected genre to provide new insight into how, where, and why information is deemed culturally relevant, travels, and becomes visual history.