Mapping Europe's Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Empire

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, May 14, 2012 - History - 368 pages
The simplest purpose of a map is a rational one: to educate, to solve a problem, to point someone in the right direction. Maps shape and communicate information, for the sake of improved orientation. But maps exist for states as well as individuals, and they need to be interpreted as expressions of power and knowledge, as Steven Seegel makes clear in his impressive and important new book. Mapping Europe’s Borderlands takes the familiar problems of state and nation building in eastern Europe and presents them through an entirely new prism, that of cartography and cartographers. Drawing from sources in eleven languages, including military, historical-pedagogical, and ethnographic maps, as well as geographic texts and related cartographic literature, Seegel explores the role of maps and mapmakers in the East Central European borderlands from the Enlightenment to the Treaty of Versailles. For example, Seegel explains how Russia used cartography in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and, later, formed its geography society as a cover for gathering intelligence. He also explains the importance of maps to the formation of identities and institutions in Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania, as well as in Russia. Seegel concludes with a consideration of the impact of cartographers’ regional and socioeconomic backgrounds, educations, families, career options, and available language choices.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


1 Early Modern Cartography and Power in European Russia and Poland Lithuania
2 Enlightenment to Romantic Historical Claims between Imperial Russia and East Central Europe
3 Purposes of Early 19th Century Russian Imperial Cartography
4 Purposes of Early 19th Century Polish National Cartography
5 Mid 19th Century Cartography and the Idea of Progress in Russian Empirecraft
6 Modern European Ethnoschematization and the Vienna St Petersburg Axis
7 Late 19th Century Russian Imperial Schemes and Habsburg Polish Cartographic Borrowings in Galicia
8 Borderlands as Modern Homelands? Mapping Ukraine and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
9 Nationalizing Cartography in the Borderlands before World War I
10 Political Cartography in East Central Europe during World War I
Purposes of Maps in the Borderlands of 1919

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Steven Seegel is assistant professor of history at the University of Northern Colorado. He is the author ofUkraine under Western Eyes.

Bibliographic information