Visualizing Knowledge: David Rumsey and Kären Wigen, February 27, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 4:30pm, the Sawyer Seminar on Visualizing Knowledge: From Alberti’s Window to Digital Arrays presents a panel discussion between David Rumsey and Kären Wigen on “Visible Knowledge Systems.”

David Rumsey
President, Cartography Associates
Director, Luna Imaging

David Rumsey is a map collector and the founder of the David Rumsey Map Collection. Begun around 1983, the collection now represents one of the world’s largest private collections of some 150,000 maps and cartographic items, with over 11,000 high-resolution digitized maps freely available through the website. He is also the president of Cartography Associates, founded in 1996, which promotes the distribution of digital facsimiles both in print and electronic media. For these efforts in making such an invaluable collection of maps and the visual histories they contain free and easily accessible to the general public, Rumsey received an Honors award from the Special Libraries Association in 2002, and in the same year his website won the Webby Award (the ‘world’s best websites’) for Technical Achievement from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. The website is more recently branching into fine art, rendering a visual archive that encompasses history, art and geography.

Rumsey holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University, and was a lecturer in art at the Yale Art School for several years. He was a founding member of Yale Research Associates in the Arts, and subsequently became the Associate Director of the American Society for Eastern Arts in San Francisco. He recently co-authored Cartographica Extraordinaire: The Historical Map Transformed (2004).

Kären Wigen
Associate Professor
Department of History
Stanford University

Kären Wigen trained as a geographer at Berkeley and now teaches History at Stanford, specializing in Japanese and East Asian history and geography. Her current research looks at geography textbooks and maps to explore the evolution of regional identity and geographies of the imagination in the alpine reaches of central Honshu. Her early research focused on the economic transformation of the Japanese countryside during the Tokugawa-Meiji transition (The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920); a second book explored the history of geographical ideas in the West (The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Meta-Geography, co-author with Martin Lewis). Wigen is currently a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She is also the recipient of a National Humanities Center fellowship.

Lectures and discussion will be held at the Stanford Humanities Center, 424 Santa Teresa Ave., Stanford, CA 94305, (650) 723-3052.

For more information about Visualizing Knowledge and a schedule of upcoming events, please visit: To download streaming audio of each session or to participate in the online discussion forum for this seminar, please visit Those who post a comment to the wiki before the end of February will be entered to win an iPod Shuffle.

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