On uses of utopian maps: The Map of New Geneva in Waterford (1783) between colonialism and republicanism


  • Federico Ferretti


This paper analyses a handwritten 1783 map surviving in the Département de Cartes et Plans at the Geneva Public Library, whose first version in colours has remained unpublished until now. The map represents the project of New Geneva, a utopian settlement of Genevan watchmakers exiled after their participation in the 1782 Geneva Revolution, in the southern Irish county of Waterford. I first analyse the contexts of this map by crossing Irish and Swiss sources. Then, I address the iconographic document drawing on recent literature on the imperial map and unorthodox mappings. I conclude that, though contributing to studies on the geographies of revolution and the unorthodox uses of cartography, this document reproduces some features of more classical maps of empire, as it was part of a project which was functional to British imperialism in Ireland. Finally, the project was not realised owing to the lack of agreement between all the actors of this complex story.




Mapping societies (edited by Edoardo Boria)