Chapter

Tropic and Tropicality

Denis Cosgrove

in Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780226164717
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226164700 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226164700.003.0011
Tropic and Tropicality

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The chapters in this book variously parse the discursive usages of “tropicality” as the concept evolved during the period of most intense European penetration into the geographic spaces and human worlds that bestride the equator. The term “visions” implies and as various chapters here testify, that Europeans did not arrive in tropical latitudes free from presumptions or anticipations about these regions of the globe. The framework of “Voyages,” “Mappings,” and “Sites” suggests a complex interplay of representation and experience within which encounter with actual places and peoples was mediated through the long premodern history of “Western” ideas and images about how the world between Cancer and Capricorn might be. Negotiation of meanings has been continuous between tropical imaginings and the sensuous, embodied experiences and subsequent representations of visionaries and voyagers, merchants and missionaries, conquerors and colonists.

Keywords: tropic; tropicality; equator; voyages; mappings; sites

Chapter.  8051 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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