This paper contributes to recent postcolonial debates about the cartography of European expansion and its implications for constructing North American landscapes. It does so by moving beyond a pure deconstructionist critique of mapping by drawing on range of theoretical literature that encourages a view of cartography as being inextricably tied to the social relations of production and consumption. In particular, it emphasizes the point that maps have social lives not necessarily different in kind from other forms of material culture. Drawing on the cartographic creation of the northwest, the argument develops through examining the social and material dimensions of map making and its afterlife. The paper suggests, therefore, that the 'power of maps' had varying and often contradictory outcomes.
- North America