Andermann on Maps

This starts the second part of the book, which is also on maps (the first was on museums). There is an epigraph from Kant, on understanding as a territory, the seeker as a seafarer, and the ocean the “native home of illusion.” Illusion engages you in enterprises you can never abandon, and are yet unable to carry to completion.

The Critique of Pure Reason is from 1781 and according to Andermann this passage from it can be seen as a founding passage of political geography. The text turns on the fundamental apria of a discipline entrusted with the task of writing the historically contingent into nature, and of naturalizing the historical process.

If the state is the terrain of immanence, it can only be Manichean or imperial: there must not be another one beyond its borders. The “island of truth” (Kant) must be unique. And nature, must be appropriated as a sublime image of the state.

Pratt: Creole cultural self-fashioning began as a critique of naturalist explorers and of the capitalist vanguard of early 19th century European travellers, which projected moral and civic dramas onto the landscape. Now, though, with Romantic sublimity, the Latin American states envision nature as pure and entirely at the disposal of its new beholder and master, the state.

There is interesting discussion on proposals to redraw the map of Brazil, so it would look less colonial and more like the map of a modern country. The new spatial images of the nation-state are not always radically different from previous ones, but the epistemological status attached to visual representations does vary. The visual, in the 19th century, gains more authority.

Page 126: Nature is enemy of the state, but also the state’s primordial and eternal substance. See discussion of implications of this, particularly in relation to frontiers. Sertão, desierto.

Chapter 4 is on the Planalto expedition, which turns the interior of the country into an object of the gaze. It is to be civilized, but it also guarantees authenticity. Space becomes a trope and a point of view associated with a discourse of reform from above that would result in a modernized society.

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