Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 03:09
courtesy of unc history department
“Mapping Europe’s Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Empire” is the second book from assistant professor of history Steven Seegel. Which began as a dissertation at Brown University in 2001, is now officially published through University of Chicago Press.
As technology continues to revolutionize the way people go about their daily lives, Steven Seegel emphasized the importance of maps and the stories they can tell.
“Mapping Europe’s Borderlands” is the second book from the Assistant Professor of History at the University of Northern Colorado, and it was recently published through the University of Chicago Press.
“It started as my dissertation at Brown University in 2001, and it was finally published in 2012,” Seegel said.
While at Brown University, where Seegel earned his master’s and Ph.D. in Russian and European History, he worked in a city and county library that had a collection of national and international maps and atlases, fueling his interest in the subject. It inspired him to start work on what would eventually become his books.
His first book, “Ukraine Under Western Eyes,” was published in 2011 by Harvard University Press.
Seegel said he not only hopes his book will be used by fellow academics and in graduate school classrooms but also by those who have ever taken an interest in maps as he has. Even someone who has used MapQuest or Google Maps might think about the tool in more depth by reading Seegel’s book.
“My goal is to get you to ask what that map is for,” Seegel said.
Maps are aids, but Seegel explained they also contain a lot of information about politics and history. His book examines when the United States went from an isolationist power to one that was involved with Russia.
Seegel said his book argues for a long historical knowledge of European history, while a common assumption is that the story of U.S. involvement in Eastern Europe starts with World War II. Some major moments in the history include the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the 1848 revolution in Central Europe, Russia becoming an empire and Poland-Lithuania dissolving and being removed from the European map.
The book utilizes maps in eleven different languages, including some maps that were previously held under communism.
“The book is the first book produced in North America — by someone living permanently outside of Russia — using Russian maps from the 18th and 19th centuries,” Seegel said.
The book has been well received by academics from various universities, and Seegel is already back at work writing for his third project.
“It’s a study of six geographers in six different countries and it’s called ‘Map Wars,’” Seegel said.
For more information on “Mapping Europe’s Borderlands” visit the University of Chicago Press website at press.uchicago.edu.