My dissertation “Landscapes of Conflict: Cartography and Empire in Northeastern America, 1680-1713” investigates a deadly, but largely neglected period of warfare that reconfigured the geopolitical dynamics of North America. I show how, in the closing decades of the seventeenth century, English and French imperial officials transplanted European cartographic practices and spatial epistemologies into northeastern America, defined here as New England, New York, New France, Iroquoia, and Wabanakia. Rooted in a desire to order natural, social, and political environments, the imperialist impulse to map and thereby mark territory in northeastern America led both to warfare between English, French, Iroquoian, and Wabanaki peoples as well as upheaval within each of these societies. The ensuing quarter-century of conflict catalyzed mapmaking and shaped mapmaking practices in America. The evidentiary heart of my dissertation is a trove of previously unconsidered cartographic materials, more than 800 manuscript maps (and counting!) that I discovered while conducting extensive archival research throughout Maine, Massachusetts, New York, California, France, and Britain.
I have presented my research at Cambridge University, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the Organization of American Historians, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and have held fellowships from the Early Modern Studies Institute, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of Early American History, and (currently) the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. I am also pursuing an M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology at USC’s renowned Spatial Sciences Institute. My objective is to use computer-mapping software (namely ArcGIS) to find new ways for reading and extracting information from old maps. In the past, I have served as the research assistant for USC’s new Digital Humanities Program. I am very lucky to have Peter Mancall as my advisor along with Daniela Bleichmar, Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, and Rebecca Lemon on my committee and to work with Jordan T. Hastings at the Spatial Sciences Institute. I welcome questions about my research, the History Department at USC, or anything else.
“QUEBEC, Ville de l’Amerique Septentrionale dans la Nouvelle France” (Paris: Nicolas de Fer, 1705) from a manuscript map by Robert de Villeneuve