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FB-57289-13
The Economic, Scientific, and Artistic Impact of the 1901-1906 French Geodesic Mission to Ecuador
Ernesto Capello, Macalester College

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-57289-13

From imperial pyramids to anticolonial sundials: commemorating and contesting French geodesy in Ecuador (Article)
Title: From imperial pyramids to anticolonial sundials: commemorating and contesting French geodesy in Ecuador
Author: Ernesto Capello
Abstract: This article considers the marking of the Andean equatorial zone through the construction, destruction and reconstruction of pyramids and obelisks celebrating the eighteenth-century Franco-Hispanic geodesic mission to Quito. These structures, originally constructed by that mission and lauding Enlightenment rationality and European empire, have been redefined in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as icons of Ecuadorian nationalism, within both a Eurocentric memorial and an Andean counter-memorial tradition. The article traces these traditions, from medieval orientalist fascination with ancient Egypt to contemporary disputes regarding pre-Columbian indigenous astronomy. As the geodesic pyramidal marker became a contested site of local and national identity, their location also shifted, from the points of geodesic measurements to the more visible and tourist friendly equator. Key players in this history include French academicians and military scientists, Ecuadorian radical liberal politicians, highland indigenous communities, tourist boosters and amateur equator aficionados.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305748817302554#ack0010
Primary URL Description: Article link, open access for 50 days then subscription
Access Model: subscription journal
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Historical Geography
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


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