Roundtable session on colonial mapping (closed event)

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VU, Amsterdam

On behalf of research institute CLUE+ and Centre for Global Heritage and Development Historical geographer Keith Lilley (chair of the Historic Towns Trust, School of Natural & Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast) is visiting us in Amsterdam. We would like to cease the opportunity to discuss joint research interests and opportunities for future cooperation in research, publication and grant applications.

Surveying Empires—Global Archaeologies of Colonial Cartography

Through having a material and physical presence in the field, remote from the metropoles and ‘hearts of empire’, those European surveyors whose work underpinned imperial maps and colonial cartography had a profound influence on how empires were cartographically constructed and imagined, as well as ruled on the ground. To explore this means going back into the field and following in the footsteps of those colonial surveyors whose contribution to the success of European ‘carto-imperialism’ has, on the whole, suffered neglect by modern-day historians of cartography and geography, and by historical archaeologists and historians of imperialism. Studying these tangible legacies of colonial survey provide a corollary to these histories and geographies of imperial mapping compiled from the colonial archive. To begin to explore this, I shall focus on the materiality of survey, and use the physical structures built to facilitate the mapping of Ireland, India, Australia, South Africa, and Canada, to look ‘behind’ the imperial map. The landscape legacies of British colonial cartography will provide a starting point to discuss the significance and value of material culture and global archaeologies in advancing our understanding of how Europeans not only mapped the world but also ruled it for nearly two centuries with consequences still today. 



 -      talk by Keith Lilley on surveying Empires (30 min)                   

-      introduction of attendees and their research interests (5 min each)

-       interactive session on potential research, publication and grant applications

-       drinks

Please note that this is a closed event with a  max.  of 12 experts from academia and societal institutions. If you are interested to join, please contact us via