The Rise and Fall of the National Atlas in the Twentieth Century

The Rise and Fall of the National Atlas in the Twentieth Century

Power, State and Territory

By John Rennie Short

Many countries produced an official national atlas in the twentieth century. This book examines these national atlases as an intriguing window into the connections between science, state, territory and power.

Hardback, 250 Pages

ISBN:9781839983030

July 2022

£80.00, $125.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

The publication of the National Atlas of Finland in 1899 marks the beginning of the era of the modern national atlas. It is a period that coincides neatly with the twentieth century. The modern national atlas mirrors and embodies some of the important themes of this turbulent century, including the complex connections between nation, state and territory, the rise of state-sponsored science; the growth of nation-states; the geography of biopolitics. 

Between 1900 and 2000, more than seventy countries produced a national atlas, an official or quasi-official rendering of the nation-state in maps and accompanying text. A useful working definition of a national atlas is “a generally comprehensive, officially sanctioned single-country atlas.” This book considers the reasons behind and characteristics of this state-sponsored cartographic explosion. The changing form of the national atlas provides an intriguing window into the connections between science, state, territory and power.

The primary material for this study is a close reading of thirty-seven of these national atlases from countries across the world. They represent a wide range of countries from rich to poor, progressive to regressive, and capitalist to communist. In total, these atlases provide a range of different state arrangements and national experiences. 

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Author Information

John Rennie Short is a professor in the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has published widely in a range of journals and is the author of fifty books. 

Series

No series for this title.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The Early National Atlas; 3. Cartographic Anxieties: The Emergence of the Modern National Atlas; 4. Cartographic Ruptures; 5. National Atlas, Global Discourse; 6. The Physical Worlds of the National Atlas; 7. The Social Worlds of the National Atlas; 8. The End of the National Atlas?

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