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Map Worlds

A History of Women in Cartography

Will C. van den Hoonaard


Hardcover 394 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-932-6

Release Date: August 2013


Hardcover edition is out of print.  

Paper 394 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-77112-126-2

Release Date: May 2014

Online discount: 25%

$32.99  $24.74



ISBN13: 978-1-55458-934-0

Release Date: September 2013

Online discount: 50%

$32.99  $16.50



Map Worlds plots a journey of discovery through the world of women map-makers from the golden age of cartography in the sixteenth-century Low Countries to tactile maps in contemporary Brazil. Author Will C. van den Hoonaard examines the history of women in the profession, sets out the situation of women in technical fields and cartography-related organizations, and outlines the challenges they face in their careers. Map Worlds explores women as colourists in early times, describes the major houses of cartographic production, and delves into the economic function of intermarriages among cartographic houses and families. It relates how in later centuries, working from the margins, women produced maps to record painful tribal memories or sought to remedy social injustices. Much later, one woman so changed the way we think about continents that the shift has been likened to the Copernican revolution. Other women created order and wonder about the lunar landscape, and still others turned the art and science of making maps inside out, exposing the hidden, unconscious, and subliminal “text” of maps. Shared by all these map-makers are themes of social justice and making maps work for the betterment of humanity.

Will C. van den Hoonaard is a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of New Brunswick and the author or editor of eight books. Most recently, he authored a series on ethics in research, including the acclaimed The Seduction of Ethics. His current interests cover qualitative research, research ethics, Bahá’is, human rights, and the world of map-makers. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.


“An inspiring book that is fascinating and highly-researched.”

— Jennifer Carter, University of the Sunshine Coast, The Globe: Journal of The Australian and New Zealand Map Society Inc.

“The vignettes draw together perhaps the only source for personal biographies of female pioneers in heavily male-dominated professions.”

— Julie Sweetkind-Singer, The Portolan