Reformation to Revolution: Mapping Discovery, Empire, and Dissent
This course is about the dynamic coming together of global exploration, cultural encounters, and the rise of the right to dissent in the early modern period. We begin by examining traditional accounts of the global flow of information and fantasy through maps and other texts that fueled adventures and ambitions, especially the revolution in cartography in the 15th century away from symbolic Christian cosmology to mathematical mapping made possible by Islamic inventions. We consider the effects of this revolution on traders, trade routes, international competition, cultural collaborations, and stereotypes of masters and slaves. We make use of cutting-edge multimedia resources, in combination with alternative narratives to explore the new field of ""continental history"" expressed in period maps, accurate and imaginary, that helped motivate Britain, France, Spain, Russia, and Holland to identify, penetrate, claim, and occupy territories to build their empires. Finally, we consider how the spread and manipulation of information and disinformation by empire builders for their own purposes encouraged the religious and philosophical dissent that erupted in Enlightenment revolutions.