Steven Seegel, Associate Professor of History, University of Northern Colorado
“Speaking in Maps: Towards a Spatial Prosopography of East Central Europe’s Modern Geographers”
This presentation previews the methodology of my current project, Map Wars. It is a microstudy of modern European and U.S. history, looking at constructions of subjecthood from the global and postcolonial vantages of uncertain frontiers. Using geographers’ personal diaries and letters, I look at political geography, forms of transnational cultural transfer, and visual modes of borrowing and mimesis. The project examines the U.S. geographer Isaiah Bowman (1878-1950) together with the entangled lives and deaths of five geographers in East Central Europe – Albrecht Penck (1858-1945) of Germany, Eugeniusz Romer (1871-1954) of Poland, Stepan Rudnyts’kyi (1877-1937) of Ukraine, Count Pál Teleki (1879-1941) of Hungary, and Arkadz Smolich (1891-1938) of Belarus. I pay careful attention to the histories of imperialism and nationalism, since these geographers assimilated to 20th-century states after emerging from 19th-century Europe’s multiethnic dynastic empires. For the SEE NEXT seminar, I will introduce a new historical approach of spatial prosopography, which combines recent scholarship on feminist human geography, transnational histoire croisée, mental maps, and the new imperial history.
Steven Seegel, Associate Professor of History, University of Northern Colorado, the author of books on the history of modern East European geography, geopolitics, and critical cartography (Ukraine under Western Eyes (Harvard University Press, 2011); Mapping Europe’s Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2012)). His current project, Map Wars, is a microstudy of the entangled modern lives and transnational careers of six geographers across East Central Europe, from the 1870s to the 1950s.