Robert Caldwell is Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Sciences, SOWELA Technical Community College, and SAR’s 2020 Katrin H. Lamon fellow.
Maps of American Indian homelands, languages, and culture elements have profoundly shaped how scholars understand Indigenous peoples’ history. Because maps offer immediate pedagogical utility, they have been widely adopted in both popular and scholarly media.
Initially dependent on Native informants, Indigenous knowledge was eventually generalized, schematized, and ultimately refracted back onto Indian Country. The end product was a result of the transcontinental circulation of ideas regarding natural science, philology, and the place of American Indians in the world. Scholars assigned languages, ascribed territories, and delineated political and cultural areas, creating maps that have been used as a tool to remove agency and to relegate Indigenous peoples and spaces to a primordial past.
In this talk, Caldwell will discuss the two-hundred-year evolution of ethnological maps and offer a window into the world view of the mapmakers and their place within networks of power.
This event is part of the 2020 fall scholar colloquia series.
Each year, incoming resident scholars introduce their work to the SAR community through a presentation and Q&A. This year’s talks are hosted online and continue to be free and open to the public. Registration is required.