For my research, I examine early modern European-Chinese exchanges through cartography. I propose that cartography was an important site of both contact and contest of early modern east-west interactions, and that China was at the forefront of this global effort of mapping. China, during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, was both a site of cartographic activities and a place to be mapped.
Through my focus on Jesuit and Chinese cartographies, I argue that mapmaking from both cultures influenced each other which revealed much about the global early modern world. On the one hand, Jesuit missionaries to China made maps from direct exposure to the vibrant mapping culture in China. On the other hand, Jesuit cartography also influenced Chinese understanding of the world. As they came into contact with the Jesuits beginning in the late sixteenth century, both Ming and Qing Chinese literati became increasingly aware of the wider world, and began to include the Jesuits’ cartographic and ethnographic works in their manuscripts.
In this workshop, I would like to focus on Jesuit cartography and digitally develop the cluster of Jesuit maps that I analyze in order to examine them as a whole. By examining them together, I seek to shed light on the historical development of Jesuit cartography in China.