Map Video and Transcript

This is a map of the New England colonies made about 1753 by cartographer John Green, then copied and imprinted by Thomas Jefferys in London in 1755. How might we come to approach this map in new ways?



>> ASHLEY SMITH: Take a look at the map. What do you see? Perhaps, the swooping arm of Cape Cod attracts your eye. For those of you who are from or are familiar with southern New England, you’ll likely recognize the outlines of familiar states. Massachusetts or Connecticut, and Rhode Island, maybe New Hampshire. Take a look at the boundaries and borders that make up these states. What stories do these boundaries and borders tell, as they separate the broad landscape into provinces and then later, into states? How does this carving of space into political units of this kind shape the way we can think of the land? Or our relation to it? Or even our relationship to one another? What would this map look like without them? Would the jutting land of Long Island or the crooked elbow of Cape Cod be enough to help you find your bearings? Would it take longer for you to figure out where you are? What would it be like to not see or know from boundaries and borders of states? But instead, to see all the land here as homeland? In what way might that grounding make these lines and divisions start to look odd?