CfP: Ethnolinguistic cartography (18th–21st centuries) in comparative perspective: genre, political conflicts, memory

Call for papers, deadline 15 May 2024

Czech Academy of Sciences (Prague), 14 - 15 October 2024

The workshop Ethnolinguistic cartography (18th–21st centuries) in comparative perspective: genre, political conflicts, memory, organised by the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences with the support of the Strategy AV21: Research programme Identities in the World of Wars and Crises, will take place on 14–15 October 2024 at the Institute of History

Ethnolinguistic maps are an important genre of modern political cartography. The genre originated in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century and subsequently experienced a tumultuous development, mainly due to the organisation of statistical censuses, the development of printing technologies, the efforts of states to territorialise (centralise), and the growth of modern nationalism. With the development of mass literacy and mass politics, ethnographic maps became an important medium of public debate. Various drawing techniques emerged to serve the political goals of national movements and the territorial aspirations of nation-states. Ethnolinguistic maps became part of school curricula, political agitation and national conflicts. They became an important argument in the post-war negotiations on new borders. They were also an important propaganda tool for movements seeking the territorial revision of ‘unjust’ borders. However, there were also efforts at inter-ethnic cooperation in cartography and innovations aimed at ‘scientific’ and neutral cartography, such as the dot method. After 1945, the genre lost much of its political potential due to the discrediting of the idea of territorial expansion in Europe, but it experienced a rebirth during post-communist ethnic conflicts (post-Soviet, post-Yugoslav countries) or ethno-religious conflicts in the Near East.

The theme of the workshop will be to analyse the development of ethnolinguistic maps in Europe and other regions of the world from different perspectives from the 18th to the 21st century. In particular, we encourage papers that address the following questions:

  • How has the genre developed from its origins to the present day?
  • What were the specificities of ethnolinguistic mapping in different European or non-European regions/states?
  • How did ethnolinguistic mapping manifest itself during wars, peace negotiations and attempts to revise borders?
  • What was the relationship between ethnolinguistic mapping and ethnic statistics?
  • What was the relationship between ethnolinguistic maps and other specialised map genres (dialect maps, town plans, historical atlases)?
  • How can the transfer and comparative perspectives be applied to the study of ethnolinguistic maps?
  • How did ethnolinguistic maps serve the purposes of political propaganda? Do they represent specific sites of memory?

The deadline for submitting abstracts (300 words) and a short CV is 15 May 2024. Authors will then be notified of the acceptance or rejection of their proposals by 31 May 2024. Each participant will have 20 minutes for their presentation and there will be time for questions and answers at the end of the presentation. Travel within Europe and accommodation will be covered by the organisers. The organisers plan to publish selected papers either in the conference proceedings