Boylan Heights Map Free Write

I think that the two maps that Denis Wood portrays are very interesting because they are unique.   The first provides the framework for the neighborhood so that the other maps aren’t as confusing, but the following maps are very neat in that they aren’t just like any old map that we see everywhere.  He mapped out various aspects of the neighborhood such as the number of jack-o-lanterns on each porch throughout the neighborhood, and the telephone lines, cable lines, power lines.  These are all aspects that wouldn’t normally show up on a map of a neighborhood; however, Wood maps each of these aspects, with each of these “non-tangible” aspects tying back into the original map of the streets of the neighborhood.

Weekly Writing 7: Locating Sources

Map Title: A Map of the Middle British Colonies in North America. First published by Mr. Lewis Evans, of Philadelphia, in 1755; and Since Corrected and Improved, as Also Extended, with the Addition of New England, and Bordering Parts of Canada; from Actual Surveys Now Lying at the Board of Trade


Nebenzahl, Kenneth, and Donald Higginbotham. “Atlas of the American Revolution.” Atlas of the American Revolution, Rand McNally and Company.


Countryman, Edward. “The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies 1750-1789.” Journal of American History, vol. 97, no. 2, p. 589.

Guthorn, Peter J. American Maps and Map Makers of the Revolution. Philip Freneau Press, 1966.

Greenwood, W. Bart, and Louis De Vorsey. “The American Revolution, 1775-1783 : an Atlas of 18th Century Maps and Charts, Theatres of Operations.”

Padrón Ricardo. “The Geographic Revolution in Early America: Maps, Literacy and National Identity.” American Historical Review, vol. 112, no. 5, 2007.

CAPPON, LESTER J. “The Historical Map in American Atlases.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 69, no. 4, 1979, pp. 622–634.

Tomlins, Christopher. “The Legal Cartography of Colonization, the Legal Polyphony of Settlement: English Intrusions on the American Mainland in the Seventeenth Century.” Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 26, no. 2, 2001, pp. 315–372.

Brückner Martin, and Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture. Early American Cartographies. Edition 1. ed., Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Brown, Richard H, and Paul E Cohen. Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence 1755-1783. First edition. ed., New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2015.

  1. (Nebenzahl) I found this source using the search “American revolution Maps”. This could be a very helpful source because it contains maps of the colonies during the same time period that my map is from
  2. (Guthorn) I found this source using the search “American revolution map-making”. I liked this source because it specifically has to do with the cartography aspect, relative to the historical context that my map has to do with.
  3. (Tomlins) I found this source through the search “English Colonies Map-Making”. It can be helpful to me because it talks about the cartography of colonizing an area, and my map has to do with the mapping of the British colonies in North America
  4. (Countryman) This to me is the most relevant source to my map. I found it with the search “American revolution maps”, it is one of my peer-reviewed sources and I liked how it has examples of maps from the same time as my map, because I could use it to find comparisons between those maps and the one that I am studying.
  5. (Brückner) This is a good source that I found using the search “American revolution cartography” I liked it because it narrows down the results to only sources that are relative to maps, and not the historic time period as a whole.

Weekly Writing 6: 1 in 10 Details

I chose the first map in the collection


  1. The map is extremely detailed, there seems to be a lot of roads listed as well as towns and rivers.
  2. The map is by a British cartographer (M. Lewis Evans).
  3. The map was published in 1755, so before the Revolution occurred
  4. There are latitude and longitude lines, so the map maker was trying to be scientific
  5. The latitude and longitude lines are lettered which makes finding coordinates easier.
  6. The state borders are almost not visible because of the amount of detail on the map.
  7. The map is concentrated to the coast, which makes sense because this the area in which the British were most concerned.
  8. There is a note to a The Honorable Thomas Pownall, which is particularly interesting
  9. The map was first published in 1755 then “extended and corrected” in 1776.
  10. There are individual notes on a few of the colonies in the margin like “Townships of New Hampshire” and “Colony of Rhode Island”

Detail #8:

  • We can infer that the person who wrote the letter was seeking the approval of Thomas Pownall.
  • The Thomas Pownall person was important because it looks like there is a seal from the Royal Crown along with the letter in the top left.
  • I would infer that the letter that the cartographer is writing has something to do with the fact that this version of the map is a revised edition from the original in 1755.
  • The person who wrote the letter was very gracious that they got to map the area as they express their gratitude in their letter.

The burning question that I have about this piece of the map is why was it included?  I don’t remember seeing something like this in the other maps, which is why this was particularly interesting to me.  I am really into history, and this map was made at arguably the most important time in American history.  One thing that I wonder is what does the letter have to do with the period?  It seems awfully strange that the British would revisit and ultimately revise the map of their colonies at this period in history, which was a whole 20 years after the original creation of the map.  It’s almost like they felt their grip on the colonies slipping, which is very cool to think about, however it’s just a guess.  Another possibility is that they just felt that they wanted to revise and correct the mapping of their colonies.  I also wonder what technological advancements were erected in the period between the original and the revised map, and if that had anything to do with the accuracy of the second revision, because this map seemed particularly accurate with the latitude and longitude lines and the lettering of each of these lines.

Weekly Writing Week 5- Creative Writing

Maps to me are a great history lesson.  I really liked it when we went to the library to look at the old maps.  When I looked at them it was very neat to piece together the historical context that surrounds each map.  This context can tell you a lot about a map and answer a lot of your questions.  For example, why are certain areas drawn differently? Maybe because that’s how that area was viewed by the people of the cartographer’s nation.  I also thought it was really cool to look at the maps of our area from a long time ago.  I was able to see the different names that the map makers would call my area which was cool.  I specifically enjoy the cartouches of the maps we looked at, each of them is unique and very intricate.  I have learned much more about maps than I ever thought that I would.

Borges Free Write

I think that the short story talks about the universe as a library.  The library needs to have certain elements to it in order to meet the needs of the society.  People are told that the books have all the different combinations of 25 characters: 22 letters and 3 punctuation marks, but actually most of the books make no sense.  There are also other books that translate words into all the languages.  To me, the amount of information that is housed in this library is innumerable and very difficult to comprehend.  I picture there to be a center room with an attendant there, and then a bunch of polygonally shaped rooms that hold the collections of books surrounding that central area, creating a very rigid and almost sterile environment.  I pictured a sort of utopic and organized area.  All in all, the idea that our universe is a library is a very interesting metaphor.

Black Lives Matter Free Write

I personally did not see the flyers that everyone is talking about that were against the Black Lives Matter movement.  I think that these issues are serious and need to be addressed, and for each side of the issue to be going at one another, isn’t good for anyone because it just creates more division amongst us.  I think that people sometimes overreact to these issues and they waste time whining and fussing about the issues when instead we could be looking for a solution.  I think that our campus as a whole is a very diverse campus when it comes to the type of people we have here, however, I don’t think that it has a diversity of thought.  It is very clear where the views of the president and college as a whole lie, and although I don’t condone the matter in which these students went about in making their voices heard in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, however, I think that we need to have that diversity of thought because it encourages communication between students of different views, because sometimes I feel as if the minority viewpoints are oppressed, just as much as any minority person who is a minority by race would be.

Rough Draft of Formal Paper 1

Tommy DiSisto

October 1, 2017

Formal Paper 1

Professor Sharon Albert

Analyzing J.B Harley

            The average person can look at a map and process what he or she sees on the surface, however many of those who are viewing a map tend not to think about all that goes into making a map.  Maps can tell us much more than what meets the eye.  Elements such as who the cartographer is when the map was made, and for whom the map is being made for, can each tell viewers more about the map than what lies on the canvas. In his book The New Nature of Maps, J.B. Harley presents the idea that, “As images of the world, maps are never neutral or value-free or ever completely scientific. Each map argues its own particular case” (37).  Maps are far more than geographical representations of the world around us or in other cases, representations of a smaller area, maps tell a story, with each map having something specific to say, the question is, did these cartographers consider the extent to which their biases would be viewed.  With that being said, it is the viewer’s job to decipher what the cartographer’s message really is.

Evidently, there is an art of persuasion involved in cartography.  Many viewers don’t realize, but more often than not, maps are persuasive in their own right.  Of course, a cartographer will always portray a map how he or she wants to, which in turn will always create a bias.  Take the traditional Mercator projection as an example.  “In the well-known example of Mercator’s projection, it is doubtful if Mercator himself-who designed the map with navigators in mind to show true compass directions-would have been aware to the extent in which his map would eventually come to project so strongly reinforcing the Europeans’ view of their own world hegemony” (Harley 66).  Harley identifies the fact that Mercator knowingly staked his own views and biases when creating the map, however, he then asserts that Mercator would not have known the extent to which his bias would be identified and viewed.  So, although Mercator purposely used a Eurocentric bias during the creation of this map, it is highly unlikely he would have thought that his projection would so candidly show a world of European dominance.  One simply cannot put Mercator and other European cartographers at fault for this action, because it is where they are from; so naturally, they would project their view of the world to best fit to their needs.  In addition to this, Mercator didn’t know to the extent in which his biased ideas would spread.

Many viewers of maps don’t realize that this phenomenon is going on.  Each person viewing the map also has his or her own personal views and biases that they also might not realize are present.  Seeing as the Mercator projection is generally more widely known as the “traditional” projection of the world, the average person is more familiar with it.  Given this information, a person who is more accustomed to viewing a Mercator projection of the world is going to have a completely different view of the world than someone who is viewing, for example, the Peterson projection.  If that person is shown a different projection of the world, they might say that it feels “bizarre” or even “wrong”.  It’s not that the “foreign” projection of the map is “wrong”, it’s just that this person is so accustomed to the bias that they have always seen through the Mercator projection, that they are inclined to discount what the Peterson projection has to offer.  It is this situation that can demonstrate the personal bias that someone viewing a map might have, without even knowing it.  It is this bias of the viewer, combined with the already intended bias of the cartographer that obviously shows the fact that each map does, in fact, have a “stance” and a “story to tell”, as Harley states.

The idea of maps having a political thrust to them is a very prevalent idea in our society today; after all, the age-old Mercator projection is an, in fact, a political map.  In addition, a political map is what most think of when asked to describe a map, the political map offers a projection with profound and distinct borders, where neighboring countries are colored differently, showing stark contrasts of these nations.  It is political maps that divide people and represent where people “should” be.  “Indeed, insofar as the ‘white colonist states’ appear much larger than they are while ‘the colonies’ inhabited by colored peoples are shown as ‘too small’ suggests how it can be read and acted upon by a geopolitical prophecy” (Harley 67).  This idea of politicized maps also shows the persuasiveness of maps.  These types of maps are similar to the Mercator projection because it places more emphasis on one group of people.  The colonies of the major European countries are often shown as smaller; which in turn, makes them seem less important, this is something that hardly ever gets noticed by those viewing maps, but it is a concept of interest nonetheless.  It is often intriguing how Africa is portrayed on a map.  The continent as a whole is shown mostly towards the bottom of the map, which is well out of the normal central area that we look at that includes Europe.  This causes us to not look at Africa as much because it isn’t at eye level.  It can be likened to a grocery store aisle.  The name brand and best-selling goods are more often than not placed at eye-level,      so consumers look at them more frequently and are more inclined to buy them.  It is the same matter with a map.  Europe and North America are at the top, portrayed with great size, and right at eye level, so, therefore, they get the most attention.  This view of the world is similar to that of the political landscape of today, an interesting connection, that can be drawn from just a map.

In summation, maps play a huge part in our everyday lives, without them our sense of direction would be nominal.  With the profound impact that maps have on our lives, it is important to question them and to learn more of what they have to offer.  Each map has a background, story, and bias, albeit it purposely was done or not, that can share a piece of valuable information with those viewing it, which is why we as a people must further explore the maps that shape our world, for they hold much more than what is shown on face value.




Turchi Free Write

On page 41, Turchi writes “The blank of the unwritten is the challenge we’ve chosen to face”.  I thought that this was particularly interesting because it is something that I would never have thought of myself.  Turchi’s stance for the majority of this chapter is about what maps omit, instead of include.  I find this interesting because the natural tendency is to take maps for what they are at face value, and not think about what a map doesn’t have, which, in turn, can tell you a lot.   I can connect this to the first ever thing we did with maps when we watched the video about the Mercator projection vs. the Peterson projection when they brought up the fact that the Mercator projection highlights some areas, and downplays other areas.

Free Write- When is a time when you have been marginalized?

For me personally, I have been called a “Nazi” because I have blond hair and blue eyes.  It was just my friends joking with me.  I really don’t let it get to me because it’s frivolous stuff.  The obvious point is that I don’t want other people who don’t know me as well to misconstrue me for someone that would even remotely identify with Nazi principles or practices.  For all of high school, I was an open conservative,  and I still am, which makes it even more dangerous for people to incorrectly hear that I am a Nazi because for many people, being a conservative means that I am racist, sexist, and homophobic.  People can tell me otherwise, but that’s the way it is, whether accusers want to hear it or not.  But I have accepted it because to me, the people that truly matter to me know for a fact that I’m not a “Nazi”, and I don’t really care about what the rest think or say about me.

Free Write- Why do maps matter?

Maps matter because they give us an idea of the world in which we live.  They are one of the most essential tools that we have access to, but I feel like most people don’t realize this.  Without maps, our world would have never evolved to the idea of Google Maps, or Mapquest, or even the maps app on the iPhone.  Without these, many of us would have little to no awareness of where we are, and where we are going.  I think it’s pretty funny that a vast majority of Americans aren’t very adept at reading maps; I bet I could find a number of YouTube videos that support my conjecture.  Personally, I find maps pleasing to look at, they are often colorful, and I enjoy looking at the locations of places and cities that I could go to and see their location relative to where I am.