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Luis Lobo-Guerrero receives grant to study 1540s Portolan Chart at the US Library of Congress

20 April 2023

Luis Lobo-Guerrero has been awarded a Franklin Fellowship Grant from the American Philosophical Society to conduct material research on a Portolan Chart of the Pacific coast of South America from around 1540, kept at the Library of Congress. The map, which contains no name-places and has never been written about, seems to offer possibilities for understanding the yet unknown history of the mapping of the Andean Pacific coast and could reveal indigenous-Hispanic collaborations in the making of the chart.

This small grant is part of wider initiative by Prof. Lobo-Guerrero to understand how the great ‘European’ global charts of the sixteenth century were in fact a palimpsestic construct with contributions from multiple cultures, an idea that could help understand how different cosmologies overlap in what came to know as the great global maps, such as those of Ortelius and Mercator. The project aims to contribute seminal knowledge on ideas of ‘globality’ that were central for the subsequent theorisation of ’the international’ from the seventeenth century onwards.

A planned research visit to the Library of Congress will be used to conduct non-invasive ultra-violet and infrared non-invasive microscopy to identify details of traces on the parchment, and a pigmentation analysis based on a Raman Spectroscopy using X-ray fluorescence tools to document the chemic composition of the inks. Work on the projects is currently being prepared for publication in the Journal for the History of Knowledge.

Last modified:20 April 2023 11.00 a.m.

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