atlas statistiqueGilles Palsky, geographer and member of the Géographie-cités laboratory, will be speaking at the fourth biennial Ruderman Conference on Cartography, focused on maps & data visualization. His talk is entitled: “Legitimizing administrative statistics in XIXth Century France: The “Albums de Statistique Graphique” in Context, their Aims and Audiences”

October 18, 19 & 20, 202
David Rumsey Map Center
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305

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The albums de statistique graphique of the French Ministry of Public Works, a series of statistical atlases published from 1878 to 1906, have been discovered and rediscovered a few times, until “Data Viz”, in search of its tradition, made them one of its historical markers. The admiration that surrounds them stems above all from the graphic achievement they represent, crowning a teeming century of graphic and cartographic innovation.
The aim of this paper is not to comment on this graphic dimension, which has already been done elsewhere, but to place the ASGs in their context, along two main lines. Firstly, by explaining how the albums contributed to the construction of statistical objectivity, then by analyzing the objectives assigned to them and the audiences they targeted, based in particular on the introductory texts of the albums written by Émile Cheysson.
In the end, it appears that the series of albums did not really meet their objectives, and this despite its high financial cost, which no doubt explains its extinction at the beginning of the twentieth century.


Gilles Palsky

Gilles Palsky was trained in history and geography at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University and is an alumnus of the École normale supérieure of Saint-Cloud, France. He holds an agrégation in geography (1981), a PhD (1990) and an Accreditation to direct research in geography (2003).
He is Emeritus Professor of Geography at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, where he taught among other subjects, cartography, the history of geographic thought, of cartography and of urban planning (2007-2022). He is a member of the research unit Epistemology and History of Geography (French National Center for Scientific Research).
He chaired the History of Cartography Commission of the French Committee of Cartography (1999-2007) and was a founding member and a trustee of the International Society for the History of the Map (2013-2017). In this capacity, he organized the second ISHMap symposium at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, in 2014 on the theme “Mapping Conflicts, Conflicts in Maps”.
His research focuses on the role of images in the construction of scientific knowledge and on the history of thematic maps and atlases (18th-20th century). He is also working on several theoretical issues in cartography: visualization of spatial dynamics, participative mapping, semiology of graphics