Skip to main content

Critical Cartographies

A seminar exploring attempts to map out the unequal organization of the current world order.
Guillermo Kuitca, San Juan de la Cruz, 1990
Joaquín Torres García, Escuela del Sur, 1958
Iconoclasistas, Manual de mapeo colectivo, 2013

“Los cuatro puntos cardinales son tres: el norte y el sur,” the Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro wrote with sharp humor in Altazor o el viaje en paracaídas (Altazor or the Voyage in a Parachute): “The four cardinal points are three: North and South.” The North/South division is not the only marker of spatial, geopolitical, economic, or ideological inequalities; several other divides compete with it as the axis around which our global order is structured: West/the rest, center/periphery, urban/rural, public/private, land/sea, common/enclosed, developed/developing, colonial/postcolonial, without forgetting the old ideological divisions of First, Second, Third, and Fourth Worlds. In response to such spatial divides, this course will explore a range of critical attempts in art, literature, the social sciences and the theoretical humanities to map out the unequal organization of the current world order. Studying concepts of so-called “primitive” or “originary” accumulation, land appropriation, dispossession, uneven development, real abstraction, and neo-extractivism with a particular focus on Latin America, we will circle back to the question of how to imagine a cartography that might be critical of the current hegemonies without increasing the worldwide zones of invisibility and inequality that sustain them. 

The course is part of a series of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-supported seminars on topics related to spatial inequality.

Spring 2022

T 2:10pm-4:00pm CPLS GU 4356 Call number: 17296 Points: 3 Prof. Bruno Bosteels, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Latin American and Iberian Cultures & Professor, Institute for Comparative Literature & Society Open by permission to students within GSAS, GSAPP, Barnard and Columbia Colleges.