Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities
2009—2010 Forum on Connections
Racialized Bodies and the Cartographic Grid in Colonial Latin America
How were New World corporealities, that is, racialized bodies, included within the cartography of empire? This project traces the representations as well as the repercussions of the cartographic grid—the net of intersecting lines of longitude and latitude present in maps—in the New World territories. The purpose of this activity is to historicize the grid, as opposed to just seeing it as an abstract universal, by taking into account its history as a material practice and how it was influential in the construction and categorization of colonial racial types. A wide array of seventeenth and early eighteenth century sources, such as Bernardo de Balbuena’s Mexico’s Grandeur, early modern anatomy illustrations and maps, and images from racial intermingling present in the visual genre known as caste paintings will be examined in aims of understanding how the cartographic (and by extension imperial) grid is both reenacted and systematically subverted in the new territories.