Defining Lines: Cartography in the Age of Empire at the Nasher

Duke Franklin Humanities Institute

Oct 23, 2013

BorderWork(s) Lab ( students Elizabeth Blackwood, Mary Kate Cash, Katie Contess, Rachel Fleder, Lauren Jackson, Jordan Noyes, and Jeremy Tripp led a gallery tour of Defining Lines: Cartography in the Age of Empire (

Defining Lines is on view at Duke’s Nasher Museum from September 9 – December 15, 2013. This student-curated installation draws exclusively from the holdings of Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library and explores the mutual relationships between maps and empires. As imperial colonial structures rose, consolidated, and ultimately collapsed, the legacy of how their maps delineated colonial holdings, visualized spaces, and reinforced control remains with us. As varied and conflicted as their purposes and perspectives may be, maps continue to function as a powerful and popular medium through which we understand the world and the man-made lines that define and ultimately control it.

The BorderWork(s) Lab is housed at the Franklin Humanities Institute ( and supported by the Mellon Foundation Humanities Writ Large grant (

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