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Maps as an Instrument of Propaganda

February 25, 2013

Maps are ideally supposed to be objective depictions of reality, but they can also be used as an instrument of propaganda, portraying the world not as it is but as it is imagined by the cartographer. A recent post on the Russian historical website includes a collection of such maps , referred to as “symbolic maps”. Like the farcical stereotype maps discussed in an earlier GeoNote, these maps—often labeled “comical”, “satirical”, or “humorous”—can express rather negative and sometimes even belligerent views towards other countries; unsurprisingly, such maps grew in popularity during World War I (see map produced in 1915, on the left). They were, however, fashionable throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, when maps of this genre were produced in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, and Japanese.

Text and Images via GeoCurrents. Continue HERE

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