Staff and Faculty

James Akerman is Director of the Newberry’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography and Curator of Maps at the Newberry Library. He is the author of many studies of the social and political aspects of mapping, transportation and travel cartography, and the history of atlases. He has edited six peer-reviewed collections of essays, most recently Mapping Nature across the Americas (2021, University of Chicago Press) and Decolonizing the Map (University of Chicago Press, 2017). He has directed fourteen summer seminars and institutes on a variety of map-centered topics for faculty and schoolteachers between 1995 and 2016. He has curated or co-curated several exhibitions, most recently, Crossings: Mapping American Journeys, which will be on view in Spring 2022 at the Newberry Library. He has directed or co-directed three major digital humanities projects, all of them supported in part by the NEH: Historic Maps in K-12 Classrooms; Make Big Plans: Daniel Burnham’s Vision of an American Metropolis; and Mapping Movement in American History and Culture.

Lia Markey is the Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library where she is responsible for conferences, symposia, workshops, seminars, and digital humanities projects devoted to medieval and early modern studies. Dr. Markey’s research has examined cross-cultural exchange between Italy and the Americas in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, collecting history, and early modern prints and drawings. Most recently, she has published Imagining the Americas in Medici Florence (Penn State University Press, 2016) and a co-edited volume The New World in Early Modern Italy, 1492-1750 (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Her edited volume, Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s “Nova Reperta” (Northwestern University Press, 2020) complemented the Newberry Library’s fall 2020 exhibition by the same title and includes catalog entries as well as contributions from a related Newberry symposium. She teaches at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago and has held fellowships at the Folger Library, the Warburg Institute, Harvard’s Villa I Tatti, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Herzog August Bibliothek. She currently participates in the Getty Connecting Art Histories Research Group, “Spanish Italy and the Iberian New World” and is conducting research on early modern Mediterranean atlases. 

Niall Atkinson is Associate Professor of Art History and Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the experience of architecture and urban space in early modern Italy in order to understand the built environment as a collective social construction through the body’s sensorial apparatus. His recent work has explored the relationship between sound, space, and architecture and their role in the construction of civic society, culminating in the publication of The Noisy Renaissance: sound, architecture, and Florentine urban life (Penn State, 2016). He is currently co-writing a book on the urban visual and spatial effects of the narratives and itineraries of French travelers to early modern Rome (with Susanna Caviglia, Duke University). He is also experimenting with digital technologies to spatialize the demographic data contained in the 1427 tax census of Florence (catasto) into an interactive geographic platform. In collaboration with a consortium of related digital reconstruction projects focused on Renaissance Florence (Florentia Illustrata), this method of geo-referenced spatial history will lay the groundwork for future experiments in mapping the soundscapes and other sensory experiences of early modern cities. Future projects include the role of city descriptions in mediating cultural exchange in early modern Mediterranean travel accounts, as well as an ongoing interdisciplinary collaborative project exploring the cultural interactions of the Indian Ocean (“Interwoven: Sonic, visual and textual histories of the Indian Ocean world”).

David Buisseret (PhD Cambridge, 1961) began life as a historian of early modern France (Sully [1968] and Henri IV [1984]). But then, serving at the University of the West Indies (1964-1980) he branched into the history of the Caribbean (Port Royal [1975/2000] and Historic Architecture of the Caribbean [1980]). Coming to Chicago in 1980 to direct the Smith Center for the History of Cartography, he then worked in that area (From Sea Charts to Satellite Images [1990] and The Mapmaker’s Quest: Depicting New Worlds in Renaissance Europe [2003]) and in local history ( Mapping the Metropolis [2003]. In his final post at the University of Texas at Arlington (1995-2006), he worked on the third of a series of books on the use of aerial imagery, Historic Texas from the Air [2009] joining Historic Jamaica from the Air [1969/1996] and Historic Illinois from the Air [1990].  Now retired, he is a Senior Research Fellow at the Newberry.

Jessica Maier is Associate Professor of Art History at Mount Holyoke College. A specialist in early modern cartography and print culture, she is the author of Rome Measured and Imagined: Early Modern Maps of the Eternal City (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and The Eternal City: A History of Rome in Maps (University of Chicago Press, 2020). Her articles have appeared in The Art Bulletin, Renaissance Quarterly, Imago Mundi, and elsewhere. Maier holds degrees from Columbia and Brown Universities and she is the recipient of major fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, Villa I Tatti in Florence, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as a short-term fellowship from the Newberry Library. She is currently working on a second book project with the working title Contested Places: Cartography, Conflict, and the Visual Arts in Early Modern Europe.

Barbara E. Mundy’s scholarship dwells in zones of contact between Native peoples and settler colonists as they forged new visual cultures in the Americas. She has been particularly interested in the social construction of space and its imaginary, which was the subject of her first book, The Mapping of New Spain (Chicago, 1996). Her most recent book, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City (Texas, 2015), draws on Indigenous texts and representations to counter a colonialist historiography and to argue for the city’s nature as an Indigenous city through the sixteenth century. Her work spans both digital and traditional formats. With Dana Leibsohn, Mundy is the creator of Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America, 1520-1820 ( Mundy currently holds the Donald and Martha Robertson Chair in Latin American Art History at Tulane University, and the Kislak Chair at the Library of Congress during the academic year of 2021-22. She serves as a Senior Fellow of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, and on the editorial board of Estudios de cultura náhuatl. Mundy is the incoming president of the American Society for Ethnohistory.

Ricardo Padrón is a Professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia who studies the literature and culture of the early modern Hispanic world, particularly questions of empire, space, and cartography. His recently published monograph, The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Early Modern Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West (Chicago 2020) examines the place of Pacific and Asia in the Spanish concept of “the Indies.” He has also published on early modern poetry and historiography, and on the mapping of imaginary worlds in modern times. Prof. Padrón is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Renaissance Society of America and will be serving as a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris during May, 2022.

Katharina N. Piechocki is an Assistant Professor in the Department of French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies at UBC, Vancouver. She holds a PhD from NYU’s Comparative Literature department and a Dr.phil. from the Romance Studies Department at Vienna University. Her research focuses on early modern French, Romance, and comparative literature, in particular cartography, theater, opera, gender, affect, and translation studies. At the center of her interest is the rise and transformation of new disciplines (cartography, philology, translation) and the emergence and translation of new interdisciplinary, predominantly performative, art forms (opera, ballet, revival of ancient theater) as they traveled across regions, nations, and continents. Katharina is, among others, the author of Cartographic Humanism: The Making of Early Modern Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2019), which focuses on Germany, Poland, France, Italy, and Portugal, and the co-editor of a double special issue of Romance Quarterly on “Early Modern Clouds” (2021).

Pedro M. P. Raposo, DPhil, is Curator and Director of Collections at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, where he oversees the Adler’s remarkable collections of astronomical instruments, prints, and rare books. Raposo holds a doctorate in the history of science from the University of Oxford, which in 2007 distinguished his doctoral project on nineteenth-century astronomy and observatories with the Magellan Prize. He has published on topics such as the history of nineteenth-century observatories, astronomy and empire, the history of modern planetaria, the circulation of knowledge in eighteenth-century Europe, and the idea of discovery in astronomy. Raposo has acted as content expert and curator for several museum exhibitions, including  ‘What is a Planet?’, which was awarded the First Prize in the 2016 Great Exhibitions Competition of the British Society for the History of Science. Currently, Raposo is also co-chair of the Collections, Archives, Libraries, and Museums (CALM) Caucus of the History of Science Society; chair of the International Planetariums Society’s History of the Planetarium Working Group; and Secretary of the Scientific Instrument Commission of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science. 

Mark Rosen has been teaching since 2008 at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he is Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Arts and Humanities. His first book, The Mapping of Power in Renaissance Italy, came out from Cambridge University Press in 2015, and he has published in The Art Bulletin, Nuncius, Oud Holland, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institut in Florenz, and Source, among other journals. He served as President of the Italian Art Society from 2019 to 2021. In recent years he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kress Foundation, the Delmas Foundation, the Huntington Library, and the Harry Ransom Center in Austin. He is currently at work on a book on the visual and technological rhetorics of the bird’s-eye view in early modern Europe.

Patrick Morris is Map Cataloging Librarian at the Newberry Library.  He is responsible for map reference and cataloging work. Pat holds an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Illinois, and a master’s degree in library science from Dominican University.