Decolonizing the MapCartography from Colony to Nation

Decolonizing the MapCartography from Colony to Nation

James R. Akerman

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780226422787

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This volume considers consider the roles mapping has played in the passage from colony to nation—or, from dependent to independent state. The eight contributions, including a synoptic first chapter and seven case studies of mapping and decolonization in Latin America, Africa, and Asia from the late eighteenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first, concern the engagement of mapping in the long and clearly unfinished process of decolonization and the parallel process of nation building from the late eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. In general, decolonization involves practices by which colonized peoples become more engaged or reengaged in mapping their own spaces and territories. But the cartographic record shows that, in mapping their new states, decolonizing communities distinguish themselves from their former colonizers and consolidate new identities only gradually and incompletely. Drawing on examples of administrative and official cartography, iconic and propagandistic mapping, popular and educational genres, and art, the contributions to this volume show that decolonizing the map of new nation-states is never a singular process. The dominance of colonial and former colonial elites, creoles (criollos), and intermediaries in the mapping of new states is complicated by ideological conflicts, countermapping, social movements, and democratization.