"Transatlantic Topographies studies the representation of American space during the initial confrontation between Europeans and Amerindians and during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Starting from topographical descriptions of land, islands, highlands, and jungles, Ileana Rodriguez shows how existing systems of knowledge broke down with the discovery of the Americas and had to be reinvented through the interpretation of signs, the accumulation of evidence, material exchange, and, finally, through the learning, teaching, and "kidnapping" of language. Proceeding from the period of exploration to the modern creation of a "twentieth-century frontier," Rodriguez charts the path that led from island paradise to jungle chaos, from representations of natural beauty to the racialization of the islands. "Transatlantic Topographies develops a highly nuanced understanding of the evolving forces of imperialism as they gave way to postcolonialism and then to transnationalism--and newly reinscribed notions of imperial economic practices.
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