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Decolonizing the MapCartography from Colony to Nation$
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James R. Akerman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226422787

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226422817.001.0001

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Democratizing the Map

Democratizing the Map

The Geo-Body and National Cartography in Guatemala, 1821–2010

Chapter:
(p.160) Chapter Four Democratizing the Map
Source:
Decolonizing the Map
Author(s):

Jordana Dym

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226422817.003.0005

This essay explores the long and complex process of establishing Guatemala's national geo-body and map, and the equally long experience of presenting and teaching them. It begins with the establishment of the state in 1825, follows a long nineteenth century of establishing and marking international boundaries and internal political and administrative divisions, and concludes in the twenty-first century as different groups adopt the competing geo-body territories and peoples, seemingly unconsciously, to establish their own claims to belong to and participate in Guatemalan debate and development. I argue that over these two hundred years, a two-step process of "decolonization" and "democratization" shaped the national territorial map. For Guatemala, decolonization occurred in two phases as the government identified land and people over which it claimed sovereignty, successfully administer them, and develop the ability to represent that claim cartographically. For the map to be fully decolonized, I suggest, the government must both create national maps and employ national agents and institutions to create maps considered "accurate" or effective to both internal and external audiences. In addition, civil society must also adopt and adapt representations of the geo-body in more popular cartography for it to be "democratized."

Keywords:   cartography, Guatemala, geo-body, democratization, decolonization, territory, popular cartography, boundaries

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