Crossroads Research

Call for Papers: Mapping Practices and Transpacific Transfers of Geographic Knowledge, Sixteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries (Online Workshop, May 19–21 2022)

When the first galleons crossed the Pacific in the sixteenth century, new routes of exchange started to be formed, connecting Asia and the Americas. These networks also brought about new impulses in the history of mapmaking. Galleons and other vessels surveyed the waters, lands, and coastlines along their routes, and the resulting knowledge was then adapted in ports on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Thereupon, this new or revised knowledge circulated further and affected regions and mapmakers that were not directly connected to transpacific navigation. Mapmakers adapted information on navigation and coast lines, and added, removed, or revised islands, harbours, or other specifications.  Exchanges also had a profound effect on port cities themselves, an effect that we can observe, for example, in city maps, which mark trading posts, ships, or quarters for foreigners. Individual maps could be captured from ships or be passed on as gifts along these routes, and these artefacts themselves can tell a story of exchange across the Pacific World and beyond.

We seek contributions for a workshop that address these stories of exchanges and mapping practices across and along extended Transpacific networks, as they can be observed on maps and with the help of maps in any language. Papers should go beyond a linear story of ever improving maps based on new surveys. Not all maps are made for practical purposes of wayfinding, and we are also looking for contributions that explore other functions.

The workshop is organized in the context of the ERC-funded project “TRANSPACIFIC: The Structure and Impact of Trans-Pacific Trade, 16th to 18th Centuries: The Manila Galleon Trade Beyond Silver and Silks” (ERC-2018-AdG, 833143) and will take place virtually, May 19 to 21, 2022. We ask contributors to submit a paper of around 8,000 words one month before the workshop. The discussion during the workshop will be based on these papers.

Please send abstracts of 300 words and a short biographical note to Elke Papelitzky ( and Wim de Winter ( by November 30.