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Engaging Ideas

March of Maps

How maps illuminate the past and point to the future

This Engaging Idea explores historical maps as windows into the past that illuminate crucial moments in American history. It also looks at how maps are now used to investigate everything from political behavior to consumer preferences.


Photo of Susan SchultenProfessor Susan Schulten began teaching at the University of Denver in 1996, and from 2011-2017 served as chair of the department of history.

Her newest book, A History of America in 100 Maps, is published by the University of Chicago Press and the British Library Press. She is also the author of the prize-winning book Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America (2012) and The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950 (2001). In 2018 she also co-edited Constructing the American Past, a two-volume history of America with Oxford University Press.

Her work has been funded by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Henry Huntington Library. She earned her BA in history from UC Berkeley and her PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania. 


 More on the Subject

  1. Mapping the Nation - How Maps Became Modern
  2. A History of America in 100 Maps
  3. Election maps are telling you big lies about small things - Washington Post Article

Questions for personal reflection or group discussion

  1. How do you see maps being used in the news media?
  2. Can you think of maps that hve mattered in your own lifetime?

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