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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Imaging/Imagining the Americas: Cartography and Ecology across the Renaissance Atlantic (HIAR10188)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines a variety of different types of representations of land and nature that were produced in the wake of the ¿discovery¿ of the Americas, by both European colonists and Indigenous peoples. Critical attention is paid to how transcultural exchanges were crucial to the production of knowledge during the Early Modern period, and how images like those under study blur modern distinctions between art and science.
Course description Immediately following the ¿discovery¿ of the Americas, Europeans made copious efforts to render the New World visually intelligible. This included mapping out its terrain cartographically, as well as representing its plants, animals, and peoples, in various media. Moreover, Europeans were not alone in these endeavours. Indigenous peoples¿at times at the behest of colonial authorities, at others independently¿created their own representations of the lands and peoples of the Americas during the Early Modern period, even developing entirely new genres of visual media.

A rapidly emerging body of art historical scholarship has examined how representations of the Americas produced both in the New World and the Old were figurative in the production and exchange of knowledge across oceans during the Early Modern period. These images were crucial to the development of bodies of ¿scientific¿ knowledge that came to construct and define the Americas as a bounded space, as well as understandings of its people, flora, and fauna. These bodies of knowledge were often marshalled in service of colonial European exploitation, yet Native groups also produced images that were meant to help assert their own rights and privileges, working both within and against colonial power structures and knowledge regimes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2A Reason, Romance, Revolution: Art from 1700 to 1900 (HIAR08027) AND History of Art 2B From Modernism and the Avant-Gardes to Postmodernism and Globalisation (HIAR08028)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who have passed at least 60 credits of Architectural History at Level 8 can also take these courses. If the pre-requisites cannot be met, entry to this course can be negotiated in consultation with either the Course Organiser or Programme Director (History of Art).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPre-Requisites ¿ Visiting students should have at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. As numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate skills of visual analysis and interpretation by looking in detail at early maps and representations of nature.
  2. Analyse the ways in which both European colonists and Indigenous peoples produced images of the Americas and put them toward different purposes.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of early cartographic practices and the role of images in knowledge production following the ¿discovery¿ of the New World.
  4. Critically examine the ways in which cultural/ideological assumptions regarding the nature of the world are embedded in visual representations of it.
  5. Apply developed skills of analysis, communication, and organisation.
Reading List
Barbara E. Mundy. 1996. The Mapping of New Spain: Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones Geogra¿ficas. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Jaime Marroqui¿n Arredondo and Ralph Bauer (eds.). 2019. Translating Nature: Cross-Cultural Histories of Early Modern Science. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Ricardo Padro¿n. 2004. The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Alfred W. Crosby. 1972. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Lia Markey. 2016. Imagining the Americas in Medici Florence. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis; Clear thinking and the development of an argument; Independent research; Presentation and communication skills; Organisation and planning.
KeywordsLatin America,Mexico,Renaissance,Colonialism,Maps,Cartography,Environment,Ecology,Nature
Course organiserDr Jamie Forde
Course secretaryMr Nathan Ross-Hammond
Tel: (0131 6)51 5880
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