A View from Somewhere: Mapping 19th-Century Cholera Narratives
Author(s): Alanna Warner-Smith
Several scholars have explored the role of the empirical sciences in colonial contexts; far from a neutral study of the world, they were actively making and remaking material, social, and geographic boundaries. Cartography was part of these boundary-making practices, as the varying positions and views of actors engaging with the world are dissolved into the singular, authoritative view offered by the map.
Studying a cholera epidemic that moved through the Caribbean in the 1850s, I consider how archaeologists might employ mapping technologies while also keeping in view post-colonial and feminist concerns for positionality, scale, and the situated nature of knowledge. Through the use of ArcGIS and its time-enabled feature, I map the ways in which primary and secondary sources describing the experience of cholera and the disease’s movement spatialize the epidemic. More specifically, I probe the scale at which these varying narratives report the epidemic to determine whether it is understood as a broad, regional event or at the level of specific colonies or islands. In exploring these cholera narratives, I raise questions about the concept of the archaeological site, problems of scale, and the power (and limitations) of maps to represent "views from somewhere."
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- Beyond (between, within, through) the Grid: The Contours of Mapping and GIS in Historical Archaeology •
- Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)
Cite this Record
A View from Somewhere: Mapping 19th-Century Cholera Narratives. Alanna Warner-Smith. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430875)
min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;
Abstract Id(s): 14660