Bifurcated cartographies. Mapping Central America in the early Nineteenth Century. A cross-continental reading
In the early XIX century two mapping projects on opposite sides of the world started taking shape. One, led by Adolf Stieler in Gotha (Germany), with the ambition to map the whole world in a single work: the Hand-Atlas über alle Theile der Erde (1816 – 1831). The other, with more modest goals, attempting to define the contours of a newly independent nation in Central America: Atlas Guatemalteco (1831).
During that period Central America underwent profound changes shifting its political boundaries in an endless battle over people and territory. Bifurcated cartographies (BC) seeks to shed light into this process from a map-making cross continental reading. It examines the representation of Guatemala, and Central America, from a foreign and a native perspective. It seeks to highlight the cartographic making of the Other and the centrality of the cartographer as a spatio/ temporal translator in this process. Furthermore, the project aims to contribute to the understanding of maps as Objektbiographien and its influence in the forging of new imagined communities.
Image: America. Stielers Hand-Atlas No 41 (1816) © Collection Perthes.