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Transatlantic Topographies

Islands, Highlands, Jungles

2004
Author:

Ileana Rodriguez

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Explores the construction of the Americas by and through European eyes

Transatlantic Topographies studies the representation of American space during the initial confrontation between Europeans and Amerindians and during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Drawing attention to cross-cultural miscommunication, 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 re-inscribed notions of imperial economic practices.

Transatlantic Topographies is ambitious, compelling, and a necessary contribution to literary and cultural studies of the Americas.

Doris Sommer, author of Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education

Transatlantic Topographies was first published in 2004. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

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 Rodríguez 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,” Rodríguez charts the path that led from island paradise to jungle chaos, from representations of natural beauty to the racialization of the islands.

Drawing attention to cross-cultural miscommunication and the riddles of meaning and message it produces, 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 re-inscribed notions of imperial economic practices.

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Ileana Rodríguez is humanities distinguished professor in Spanish literatures and cultures at Ohio State University. Her books include Women, Guerillas, and Love: Understanding War in Central America (Minnesota, 1996).

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Transatlantic Topographies is ambitious, compelling, and a necessary contribution to literary and cultural studies of the Americas.

Doris Sommer, author of Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education

Transatlantic Topographies is an engaging and valuable contribution both to a now extensive body of scholarship on the European conquest of the Americas and its cultural ramifications and to a burgeoning cross-disciplinary literature on the intersections between histories of modernity, power, and space.

New West Indian Guide

In a brilliantly complex and interwoven text, Ileana Rodriguez guides us through this intriguing perspective on the Americas. Having reinvented geography after Columbus, we waited a little short of five centuries for Arguedas and his intellectual descendents to forge anthropology, literature and cognate disciplines into Latin American cultural studies, and now thirty-five years after the death of Aguedas these penetrating tools give us this gem of a book.

British Bulletin of Publications on Latin America, the Caribbean, Portugal and Spain

The readings are lively and original, well sustained by the thesis that irony is the rhetorical weapon used against local cultures by these metropolitan critics.

The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History

Offering a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary analysis of a complex subject, Rodriguez (Spanish Literatures and Cultures, Ohio State Univ.) takes the reader on a compelling journey through space and time. Including several illustrations, this title will be useful to readers in many disciplines, including literature, history, anthropology, and related inner-American studies.

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