Between cartography and representation: borders and maps of early modern Bologna and Modena

Carbonara, Miriana (2016) Between cartography and representation: borders and maps of early modern Bologna and Modena. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In the early modern period the border between the states of Modena and Bologna - cities
under the control of the Este family and Papal State respectively - was marked by two
main watercourses: the Panaro River and the Muzza canal. This generated an abundance
of manuscript materials – drawings, maps, notes, chronicles – dealing with questions
relating to water changes which in some parts made the border very unstable and,
therefore, subject to continuous interventions to reinscribe political and administrative
ownership. The maps, in particular, focus on the possibilities and frustrations of
establishing and representing a definitive border, continuously challenged by the
properties of water: its transparency, its motion and its instability; in other words its
By taking into account a variety of unpublished manuscript visual and textual
documents, my research draws attention to how this material stresses the idea of the
‘border’ as a process. I explore attempts to define borders by water and the resultant
In seeking to understand how the maps work visually, I draw attention to the
tension between what can be represented and what escapes description, that which
remains problematic, contingent and self-contradictory. In this paradox, I argue, the two
sides of cartographic representation lie: the constant oscillation between opposites,
between certainty/uncertainty, visibility/invisibility, opacity/transparency. My focus
moves in between these opposites where instability, conversion and uncertainty acquire
a distinct theoretical status. Thus, the analysis of the visible aspects of this ambiguity
becomes an investigation into the problematic nature of representation itself.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 11:45
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2019 00:38

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