This course took cartography as a point of departure for understanding the major changes in European cities in the Early Modern Period. It examined how maps document their built environment and function as carriers of deeper scientific, political and rhetorical meanings. We studied a very exciting period of urban, political and scientific expansion; one that in many ways set the stage for mapping and planning in the twenty-first century.
The first half of the course involved readings, discussions and lectures about the different techniques of cartography and the major urban trends of the period. Students then chose from a list of significant maps of major European cities in Avery Library and other New York collections. The second half of the course consisted of group presentations of case study cities and their most famous maps—Paris, London, Amsterdam, Rome and Besançon.