The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Kamchatka Map Derby

We are not foolish enough to think we can rival the romance of Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. But we are as excited as anyone in quarantine can be about our Kamchatka Map Derby lineup!

Why Play?

How else could we possibly determine which is the best map of Kamchatka ever made (and preserved in a library, and digitized, and available via open access) if not by random Twitter poll? 

But why Kamchatka?
This is a reasonable question, to which there are two reasonable responses. First, Kamchatka is an incredibly rich geographical and historical site, worthy of a library full of maps. Second, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University is hosting a book club reading of Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. This haunting novel takes place - you guessed it - on Kamchatka. 

In the Running

16 fabulous maps selected (after much deliberation and wringing of hands) from the Harvard Map Collection, the David Rumsey Map Collection, the Barry Lawrence Ruderman Map Collection at Stanford University, the National Library of Sweden, and the Library of Congress, are in the lineup. They cover a period of over 250 years and were made by cartographers from Paris to St. Petersburg.

The Heats

On game days (Monday-Thursday), pairings will post by 10am (or so) on Twitter (@ImperiiaProject). Use #KamchatkaMapDerby to find polls and write-ups. All you need to do is look at the pairing and vote - based on absolutely any criteria you choose - for a winner. On Fridays, we will post a recap of all maps moving on the next round. 


Round of Sixteen: May 4, 5, 6, 7 (two pairings per day) 
Round of Eight: May 11, 12, 13, 14 (one pairing per day)
Final Four: May 15 (voting continues over the weekend)
Championship: May 18 (the winner will be announced during the Disappearing Earth live event)

May the best map win!

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