Terra Cognita

Terra Cognita : The Mental Discovery of America

3.28 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 4 business days
When will my order arrive?


Most of us are fascinated by the conventional storybook account of Christopher Columbus' heroic discovery of America in 1492. Yet, should the credit for discovering America go to a man who insisted it was but a few islands off the shores of China?In Terra Cognita, Eviatar Zerubavel argues that physical encounters are only one part of the complex, multifaceted process of discovery. Such encounters must be complemented by an understanding of the true identity of what is being discovered. The small group of islands claimed by Columbus to have been discovered off the shores of Asia was a far cry from what we now call America. The discovery of the New World was not achieved in a single day but was a slow process--mental as well as physical--that lasted almost three hundred years. By celebrating 1492 as a year of discovery, we inevitably distort the reality of history.In vividly documenting how a slowly emerging New World gradually forced itself into Europe's consciousness, Zerubavel shows that Columbus did not discover America on October 12, 1492. Supplemented by fascinating old maps and a new preface written for this paperback edition, Terra Cognita will be of interest to historians, geographers, cognitive scientists, sociologists, and students of culture.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13.46mm | 340g
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 31 maps
  • 0765809877
  • 9780765809872

Review quote

"Eviatar Zerubavel is one of the most original and versatile scholars in the field of sociology, the kind of man who sees important patterns and relationships where others see only the banalities of everyday life. [Terra Cognita] pulls together history and geography with the sociology of culture, and the result is one that gives new meaning and depth to the notion of discovery." - David S. Landes, Coolidge Professor Emeritus of History and Economics, Harvard University "A fascinating, brightly written and cogently argued work on the power of the geographical imagination to discover and fabricate reality...will delight and stimulate all cognitive geographers and students of the world map, and those concerned with the epistemological standing and psychology of exploration and discovery." - Yi-Fu Tuan, J. K. Wright and Vilas Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin
show more

About Eviatar Zerubavel

Eviatar Zerubavel is professor of sociology at Rutgers University. He is also the author of Patterns of Time in Hospital Life, The Seven-Day Circle, Social Mindscapes, The Clockwork Muse, and Time Maps.
show more

Rating details

7 ratings
3.28 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 29% (2)
3 71% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X