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Book Launch: The Power of Maps and the Politics of Borders

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EDT

Register online via Zoom.

July 7, 2021

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EDT

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Join us to celebrate the launch of a special issue of the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society based on the APS’s Fall 2019 conference on “The Power of Maps and the Politics of Borders.”

Held in conjunction with the APS’s Museum exhibition, Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic (April-December 2019), the conference considered the creation and use of maps from the mid-eighteenth century through the early republic to show the different ways in which maps produced and extended the physical, political, and ideological boundaries of the new nation while creating and reinforcing structural inequalities.

Some participants in the conference were first and foremost scholars of the map. Many, however, had simply chanced onto a particular map that crystalized their project. Others drew out themes involving geography or boundaries. In this regard, we might say that one power of a given map is its ability to foster conversations or spark communication across disciplines and sub-disciplines. 

Join Katie McKinney, Derek O’Leary, and Julie Reed in conversation with Nicholas Gliserman as they reflect on mapping, border-making, and how putting together this publication has helped to illuminate new questions about the early republic.

The event will take place on Wednesday, July 7 at 1:00 p.m. EDT via Zoom. The event is free of charge, but registration is required to attend.


Nicholas Gliserman is an independent scholar in the fields of history and geography. As a proponent of digital humanities, he is currently earning a degree in computer science. He was previously the Chief Academic Officer at Game Learning, where he designed and developed six historical video games.

Katie McKinney is the Margaret Beck Pritchard Associate Curator of Maps and Prints at Colonial Williamsburg where she oversees the collection of prints, maps, and natural history collections. She holds a master’s degree from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware and a BA in art history and history from James Madison University. Along with Margaret Prichard, she is the co-curator of Promoting America: Maps of the Colonies and the New Republic the first map exhibit to open in the new Carolyn and Michael McNamara Maps and Prints Gallery in the expanded Dewitt Wallace Museum at Colonial Williamsburg on view now.

Derek Kane O'Leary teaches history at Bard High School Early College in D.C. and will be a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of South Carolina beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year. He completed his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in 2020 and is working on a book manuscript entitled Building the American Archive in the Atlantic World, 1776-1876.

Julie L. Reed is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an associate professor of history at Penn State University. Julie’s research focuses on Southeastern Indians, the history of social welfare, and American educational history. She is currently working on her second book tentatively titled Land, Language, and Women: A Cherokee and American Educational History. Her first book Serving the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800-1907 examined the move from kinship based systems of care at the turn of the century to the development of national social service programs and institutions, including pensions, a prison, a mental health facility, and an orphanage in the aftermath of the Civil War.