2 February 2000, Wednesday, 6:30 PM
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
3-3-6 Kudan-Minami, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō 102-0074
Where are the Giants and Monoculi? Knowledge and Imagination in Nineteenth-century Japanese Maps of the World
February 2, 2000 / 18.30
Robert Eskildsen, Smith College, Assistant Professor
Commercially published maps of the world from the bakumatsu period depicted foreign peoples and places in a unique pattern that combined several traditions of knowledge and imagination. It may be tempting to dismiss these maps as inaccurate, fanciful or not serious, but they suggest some of the constraints on knowledge and imagination during the early modern period and how the political crisis in the middle of the nineteenth century challenged and reshaped those constraints. This presentation will provide examples of Chinese and European influence on map illustrations and cartographic knowledge, and how maps of the 1850s and 1860s synthesized knowledge and imagination from these different sources.