Beyond GIS: Limits and Possibilities of Geospatial Research of Colonial Latin America
From Lisa Otty
A CDCS Seminar from Maria José Afanador-Llach (Univerisdad de los Andes, Bogotá-Colombia).
Researchers of the colonial period in Spanish America face the challenge of comprehending the relationships among territoriality and historical processes. For instance, the task of aggregating data to create jurisdictional maps of the colonial period can be daunting for a single researcher. However, recent spatial digital projects have advanced in the codification of colonial gazetteers and other primary sources in order to build spatial databases and visualizations. The emphasis has been on places, borders, jurisdictions, events, and demographics.
In this talk, Maria examines the ways in which spatial digital history projects about colonial Spanish America have tackled the methodological challenges of data modeling and visualization. In doing so, she reflects on the tensions between quantitative and qualitative research and on the limits and possibilities of modeling geospatial data and building visualizations with GIS for the historiography of the Spanish empire. She argues that mapping according to coordinates adjusted to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is only one layer of meaning in the complex and ambiguous web of territorial conceptions, inter-imperial negotiations, porous borders, geographic imaginations, and frameworks of political economy that shaped the spatial history of the Spanish empire.
Chaired by Moa Carlsson, Edinburgh College of Art
First Broadcast on Wednesday 10 February, 2021
Image credit: Francisco Moreno y Escandón (1736-1783), Plan Geografico del Virreinato de Santafe de Bogota. Nuevo Reyno de Granada, que manifiesta su demarcación territorial, islas, ríos principales [...]., 1772. Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia, Mapoteca Digital, Colombia. 75 x 101 cm