chapter  4
23 Pages

Materializing the Immaterial

Creating Capital in a Mirrored Mirage 1
WithLeah M. Thomas

The idea of the mirror informed the geographic imagination in eighteenth-century cartography and literary texts. As Europeans continued to explore the Americas during this century, the Americas, especially the Caribbean and South America, mirrored Africa as an inverse and reflection of the continent as well as an extension of it. Within this mirror, Native Americans and Africans along with the landscape were conflated as illustrated in eighteenth-century cartography and other texts that depicted the Americas. At the same time, the object of capital underlay the mapping of the Caribbean and South America. Hence, this chapter explores these three threads: the concept of the mirror, the conflation of Native Americans and Africans, and cartographic and literary texts as objects of capital culture. The final component of this chapter addresses these cartographic and literary texts as objects of capital culture in their own right and suggests that the idea of the mirror drove the production of these texts as objects and further materialized in the mapping of South America that was based upon a mirage that ballooned into a bubble.