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Analyzing Documents
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Introduction
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Analyzing Documents presents case studies that demonstrate how scholars interpret different kinds of historical evidence in world history. Here are two maps of the world. The first, a Mercator projection, probably seems familiar to you because Mercator maps are among the most common in use today. The second is a Mercator projection that has been altered. Instead of placing North America in the center, the Eurasian land mass is in the middle. These two maps of the world suggest some of the ways the choices made by mapmakers have a significant impact on our understanding of the world.

 

Click on the two images to get a closer look at the maps. What strikes you as you look at them? Which differences are most obvious to you? Are there similarities? How might your perception of the world be different after examining the second map? These are the kinds of questions historians ask when they examine maps made in the past.

 

Now listen to Professor Gerald Danzer, interviewed in the Palmer House hotel in Chicago, as he talks about maps and what we can learn from them. Go to Next Page

 


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A project of the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University,
with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gladys Delmas Foundation
2003-2005 center for history & new media