Kory Olson

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20082009 Forum on Change

Kory Olson

Assistant Professor, French, Stockton College

Mapping the Paris of the Future: French Cartographic Discourse,1900-1939

Cartographer J.B. Harley emphasizes that “maps are never value-free images,” they are a language used to mediate differing views of the world (53). For present-day academics, analyzing historical map discourse (text, shapes, and colors) helps identify emerging trends and prominent ideas. For Paris, the twentieth century brought considerable change. Automobiles clogged its narrow streets and residents moved further away from the city center in search of affordable housing and open space. These trends, among others, created new challenges for the French government as it looked to modernize its infrastructure and enhance daily life for its citizens. In this project, I examine various proposed urban reforms published between 1900–1939, along with their cartographic discourse, to explore shifts in urban policy and attitudes towards the French capital.