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Mapping Histories: Cartographic representation of Singapore


Sat Mar 21 2015, 2:00pm–4:00pm

Where: National Library, 100 Victoria Street, Rochor, Singapore

Restrictions: All ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: keith

Speaker: Dr Imran bin Tajudeen, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore

Dr Farish Ahmad Noor is a map collector, political scientist and historian. He is Associate Professor at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Dr Noor is part of the research cluster on the contemporary development of trans-national religio-political networks across South and Southeast Asia, where he is studying the phenomenon of Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist religio-political mobilisation in the public domain.

Three of Dr Noor’s maps have been loaned for display at the Geo|Graphic festival. Dr Noor has also contributed an article to the January edition of NLB’s BiblioAsia journal, explaining how to read maps and look beyond geographical boundaries.

This talk will discuss the use of old maps to uncover lesser-known aspects of place histories in Singapore. Maps record both cultural and natural physical data to varying degrees and a comparative perspective across time can reveal useful information on changes to multiple aspects of the landscape. However, far from being straightforward representations of the city or landscape, maps are simultaneously a record of the history of mapping – they are the products of the cartographic conventions of the day and the priorities and interests of surveyors and map makers. The scope of cartographic representation varies across maps, such that comparing between maps can reveal what remains ‘unmapped’. In such cases, the researcher must take on the role of ‘mapping’ histories in the sense of the verb, charting out areas omitted in some maps but appearing in others, or setting out aspects recorded in other forms of documentation but absent from maps. This perspective applies as much for old maps as to contemporary ones we are accustomed to using that are descended from the Street Directories that have been in regular issue since 1955.

Admission is free but registration is required via