Quetzaltenango Travel on (Walker 2011,390) What Walker describes in this passage is the simultaneous emergence (and structural intertwining) of geographic and cognitive borders in the scene of primitive accumulation. Cartographic proportion reshapes the world according to its measure and thus inscribes this structural intertwining in the very metageography underlying modern maps. It is precisely at this meta-geographical level that borders begin to crisscross the cartographic imagination from early modernity, collapsing geographical and civilizational divides. As Jerry Brotton shows in Trading Territories (1998), the orientation underlying Mercator’s projection was arguably more complex than simply instating the centrality of Europe. His world map established a distinction between a geopolitical East and West which reflected their growing polarization in line with the territorial and commercial interests of the sixteenth-century imperial powers. It also contributed to the creation of the epistemic conditions for the discursive deployment of the idea of the Orient’ within European travel accounts and geographical discourse of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which implicitly framed descriptions of an exotic, indolent and mysterious East’ in relation to a dynamic and enlightened West’ (Brotton 1998, 168). This is consistent with Walter Mignolo’s investigation of the role of cartography in the colonization of the Americas, which stresses that the process of putting this part of the world -on the map from the European perspective in the sixteenth century was a decisive step toward the birth of Occidentalism (Mignolo 1995,325). Quetzaltenango Travel 2016.
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