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Terrae Incognitae

The Journal for the History of Discoveries

(ISSN 0082-2884)

Terrae Incognitae is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal published semi-annually by the Society for the History of Discoveries. It is distributed to members of the Society and to institutional subscribers. The aim of Terrae Incognitae is to examine the history and impact of geographic exploration and cross-cultural interaction around the globe prior to the modern era. Recent articles have ranged from the use of DNA technology to track the movement of chickens and thus populations in pre-historic Oceania to the role of the Order of Christ in furthering 16th-century Portuguese expansion; from the significance of inter-cultural adoption or rejection of clothing for understanding cross-cultural interaction to Marco Polo’s influence on cartography.

Information for Contributors

Contributions are needed for upcoming issues of Terrae Incognitae.

Before submitting an article, please consult the Notes for Contributors.
Please note that the blind review process will take a minimum of 6 weeks.

Click here for the Terrae Incognitae style sheet.

Editor: Dr. Lauren Beck, Dept Modern Languages and Literatures, Mount Allison University

Associate Editors: Dr. Gayle Brunelle (California State University, Fullerton) and
Anthony Mullan (Library of Congress)

Book review editor: David Buisseret, Newberry Library

Editorial Advisory Board:

Mirela Altić, Institute of Social Sciences, Croatia
Imre Demhardt, Arlington, Texas
Ralph Ehrenberg, Falls Church, Virginia
Barry Gough, Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre, Vancouver Island University, Canada
Donald Harreld, Provo, Utah
Francis Herbert, Royal Geographical Society-IBG, London, UK
Gregory McIntosh, Piri Reis University, Turkey
Bruce Solnick, Lenox, Massachusetts
Carol Urness, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Terrae Incognitae 47.2 (2015), 48.1/2 (2016), and 49.1/2 (2017)

Columbus’s contemporary, Oviedo, credited the man for being the “first discoverer” of the Americas; Columbus had “found” “new” lands, cities and peoples (Historia general de las Indias [Seville: Cromberger, 1535], fol. 1v). Las Casas later linked this attribution to his own criticism that Columbus “had made taxpayers of the Indians there.” (Brevíssima relación [Seville: Trugillo, 1552], fol. 192r) The verbs associated with Columbus’s conduct evolved away from ones that either celebrated or affirmed Spanish possession of the New World to include ones like destroyed, devastated, exterminated and ruined in the subsequent tomes authored by William Robertson, Abbé Raynal, and Washington Irving. By the twentieth century, important works by Tzvetan Todorov and José Rabasa—to name just two of deep field of scholars—prefer “invention” rather than “discovery,” “the other” rather than “the savage,” and so on. As this example demonstrates scholars writing in any period reconsider past historical events according to the paradigms of the age; the approach to and conclusions drawn from research into the history of discovery and exploration vary remarkably depending upon the timeframe and the socio-cultural perspective in which that scholarship is conducted.

Is contemporary scholarship moving away from an establishment of the facts concerning the European exploration of the world—how they traveled, where and when, and what they encountered—and toward an interest in the variety of narratives and perspectives afforded by an entire world that at one point or another discovered other parts of itself? How do we navigate the realities and dystopias, ethnocentricities and lack of understandings, inherent to the act of discovery conducted by men such as Columbus whose narratives and the history books they have engendered we rely upon for our own research? Do we answer these specific challenges by identifying and asserting new voices as well as counter-perspectives? What new consciousness might we possess today that requires us to revisit past scholarship so that we can reap new knowledge from these historical contexts? And, finally, what is the state of our discipline today; how and why does it remain relevant?

Essays and position papers are invited for a special series devoted to reflecting upon the scholarship of discovery and exploration. Early- and late-career scholars, graduate students, collectors as well as members of our association are encouraged to prepare article-length contributions (4000-6000 words) that will be peer reviewed about the state of our discipline. Specific topics might also include examples of new directions, epistemological and theoretical approaches, and trends in scholarship. Proposals for innovative ways of answering this Call for Papers are also welcome.
Please send inquiries, proposals, or completed manuscripts to the editor, Lauren Beck (); submissions will be considered on a rolling basis for inclusion in the next five issues of Terrae Incognitae.


Maney is one of the few remaining independent journal publishers operating internationally. It publishes a significant number of journals that cover cultural and geographical history, including The Cartographic Journal, Survey Review, Folk Life, Dutch Crossings, Italian Studies, Hispanic Research Journal and Post-Medieval Archaeology. Its complete list of journals can be seen at www.maney.co.uk/journals, and more information can be found via the Maney History and Humanities Spotlight at http://maney.co.uk/history_and_humanities_spotlight .

Maney expects to develop Terrae Incognitae in a number of ways, with the provision of an online version and full back issue archive online for institutional subscribers, freely searchable electronic abstracts, inclusion in the CrossRef system of hyperlinked references, and a table of contents alerts service for all subscribers and readers.

The 2010 volume will also see a change in text, design and layout as required for online, as well as print production. We will be able to publish illustrations in colour online, enhancing the visual impact for readers. The cover will also undergo a redesign.

We look forward to working with the editorial team to continue the established tradition of publishing issues on subjects of international importance.


With the help of Maney Publishing, the Society for the History of Discoveries intends to scan and make available in electronic form the back issues of Terrae Incognitae. As a means of easy access to previously published papers, of which few subscribers will have copies, we expect this to be a considerable enhancement of the benefits of the institutional subscription.

Many of you will be familiar with the current procedure in which authors assign copyright (for both print and electronic publication) to the Society. This does not limit an author’s ability to reuse material, but ensures that Maney, on our behalf, can protect the copyright internationally. The papers we published previously, in our back issues, were not administered in this way, nor was permission sought to obtain electronic rights. For earlier issues, such a form of publishing was never conceived. It would exceed the resources available to the Society to identify all the authors who have previously contributed to Terrae Incognitae and obtain their (or their Estate executor where an author is deceased) permission to republish their work electronically. In any case, we are very doubtful that the addresses that we had at the time of publication are still current.

We are therefore writing this notice to ask for any authors who object to the proposed policy to let us know as soon as possible. We think it will be a pity, but if the permission, which we will be taking as given, is withdrawn, we will reluctantly omit their work from the scanned back archive. This will inevitably distort the record to a certain extent, but we will respect the decision.

We expect this notice will be seen and read by most people involved in the activities of the Society, and we would be grateful if you could draw it to the attention of all your colleagues. We will be proceeding with this scanning project in the next few months, and need to ensure that notice of our intentions is disseminated widely.

Marguerite Ragnow
Editor, Terrae Incognitae, 2008-2013
Editor, Terrae Incognitae

For a contents listing and alphabetical listing of authors of volumes 1 – 37 (1969 – 2005) of Terrae Incognitae, please click here.

For a bibliography of volumes 1-32 (1969 - 2000) of Terrae Incognitae,
please click here.

For a subject index of volumes 1-28 (1969 - 1996) of Terrae Incognitae, please click here.

For the contents and book review pages of other issues, please click the appropriate year:

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

The Society disclaims responsibility for statements either of fact or of opinion
made by contributors to Terrae Incognitae.

All original content, translations and code
Copyright © The Society for the History of Discoveries 1999 - 2015. All rights reserved.