Different perspectives of Guatemalas’ land in cartography, was the subject of the dialogue held between Barbara Mundy, professor of Art History and Music at the New York University and a group of professors and students from Universidad Francisco Marroquín.
Ph.D. Mundy explained that when she sees a map she focuses on “what the author wants to express” and not only on its cartographic exactitude; and explained that the rules of cartographic exactitude are not universal, but a way, between many, to make maps. She also explained that the maps are product of social processes, not only of technical processes.
During the dialogue she indicated that, for the study of maps she uses study methods proper of the History of Art, such as composition, use of colors, use of symbols and text use. She added that one should consider questions such as if the map has an author, or several; what includes and what the author of the map omits; what dominates in the map; if there is a reason for making the map; and if the author of the map has a sponsor, and how the system of sponsorship works.
Mundy is a specialist in pre-Columbian and Latin America art; she is also author of The Mapping of New Spain: The Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones Geográficas.
The conference was organized by the Institute of Political Studies and International Relations and was celebrated last February 8th of 2007.