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Project information

Project team

Pierre Cherrier, Sebastian Lentz, Jana Moser, Laura Pflug

Duration of project

01/2016 – 12/2019

Funded by

German Research Foundation

Further information

Dr. Jana Moser

Maps of Globalization: The Production and the Visualization of Spatial Knowledge

Project C5 – Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: Processes of spatialisation under the global condition

Maps are a medium used worldwide for the transfer of information and knowledge, but also for imaginations. As such, they also convey ideas of globalization. The project investigates how spatial knowledge and spatial imaginations are conveyed visually in society, especially in the context of (school) education, with the help of the medium atlas/school atlas.

To this end, we investigate school atlases for secondary schools from various production regions between about 1860 and today. In addition, we include related textbooks, teacher handbooks, reviews, articles, and archive materials in our analyses. We see the atlas makers and their environment (publishers, educational politicians, authors, cartographers, etc.) as important actors who depict "the world" in maps and thus have a decisive influence on the image of "the world" in society or societies that is to be learned. We ask what role spatial formats and spatial orders play in the visual mediation of spatial knowledge. We are also interested in how these are highlighted, consolidated and challenged or manifested through the combination, recombination and/or omission of certain map elements and visual-graphic implementation. In addition to graphic map signs, the arrangement of maps and other atlas elements, such as graphics, text modules and photos, play an important role in conveying spatial concepts.

The comparison of school atlases from China, the USA, France, Belgium and Canada over a period of approx. 150 years enables us to identify both synchronous and diachronic differences and developments. We have developed a methodology to decode the atlases and the maps they include in order to compare them with each other. In this way, we can trace changes in the atlases over time, which, in addition to technological and pedagogical development steps, are strongly influenced by processes and discourses of globalization. At the same time, the approach allows us to recognize commonalities and differences between "map cultures" and "map languages" of different regions of the world and also to comprehend standardization processes in the field of cartographic methodology and education, but also with regard to social concepts of space.


Cherrier, Pierre / Moser, Jana / Lentz, Sebastian / Pflug, Laura (2019): Raumformate und Kartensprachen erkennen. Vorschlag einer Methodik zur Analyse von Karten und (Schul)Atlanten als Vermittler von Weltbildern unter Globalisierungsprozessen. SFB 1199 Working paper series des SFB 1199 an der Universität Leipzig, Nr. 19. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag.

Moser, Jana / Meyer, Philipp (im Erscheinen): The Use of Color in Maps. In: Bock von Wülfingen, Bettina (Hrsg.): Science in Color – Visualizing Achromatic Knowledge. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.

Pflug, Laura (2019): From ‘All Under Heaven’ to ‘China in the World’: Chinese Visual Imaginations from the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. In: Storms, Martijn / Cams, Mario / Demhardt, Imre Josef / Ormeling, Ferjan (Hrsg.): Mapping Asia: Cartographic Encounters Between East and West. Cham: Springer: 247–263.

Pflug, Laura (2019): A View from Inside: Chinese Mapping of the World against the Backdrop of Colonial Experience. In: Mapping Empires: Colonial Cartographies of Land and Sea. Proceedings of the Joint International Symposium of the ICA Commission and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, 2018. Cham.

Harvey, Francis (2018): Die fortbestehende Bedeutung von Herbert Bayers World Geo-Graphic Atlas von 1953. In: Kartographische Nachrichten 68 (4): 202–207.

Moser, Jana (2018): Neogeographie – Über Chancen und Herausforderungen für die kartographische Forschung. In: Kartographische Nachrichten 68 (3): 113–119.

Moser, Jana / Ipatow, Natalia (2018): Einmaleins der Webkartographie (Erlärvideo). Online, (06.12.18).

Moser, Jana (2017): Vertraute und unbekannte Weltsichten: Auf dem Flug zu einer Tagung in Washington DC. In: Blog SFB 1199. | 28.07.2017