Places of Power: Examining Spatial Patterns of French Toponyms in the Mississippi River Basin

Authors: Marcelle Caturia*, University of Colorado - Denver
Topics: Cultural Geography, Historical Geography
Keywords: Toponymy, Mississippi River, France, Colonization, Integrated Methods
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Place names, or toponyms, represent both location and symbolic meaning, and examining the spatial distribution of place names across the landscape can reveal cultural patterns otherwise hidden in the data. Including quantitative methods as part of the process of interpretive ethnocultural research has helped to revitalize modern toponymic scholarship. This study takes a similar methodological approach, using geo-statistical tools to visualize spatial patterns of French place names in the Mississippi River Basin. During France's exploration of North America, the Mississippi River served as a major entry point into the continent’s interior. Spatial analysis of French colonial toponymy allows us to better visualize and understand France’s colonial power and cultural imprint in the region.

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