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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Art on the Line

Art on the Line

Cartography and Creativity in a Divided World

(p.284) Chapter Seven Art on the Line
Decolonizing the Map

Sumathi Ramaswamy

University of Chicago Press

In recent years, historians of cartography have shown us how and why lines, dashes, and contours drawn on a piece of paper (or sometimes, parchment or cloth) have had such profound, even violent, consequences in our times by reaching deep into our lives to shape the physical spaces we inhabit. Beginning with the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 when an imaginary line was drawn across the Atlantic Ocean to parcel out the globe between two emergent empires, through the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 when other lines were drawn on pieces of paper laid out on a table in Europe that decided the fate of a continent elsewhere, to the bloody partitions of the twentieth century (Ireland, India, Palestine, to name the most prominent), acts of cartographic defining have been catastrophically constitutive and world-altering. In my essay, I explore one such act of drawing a line in the summer of 1947 when British India was partitioned, and examine the responses to this critical cartographic act that have emerged in recent years among visual artists in India and Pakistan.

Keywords:   cartography, Radcliffe Line, India, Pakistan, partition, artful mapping

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