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Colonizing Chaco Canyon: Mapping Antiquity in the Territorial Southwest


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/17333

Colonizing Chaco Canyon: Mapping Antiquity in the Territorial Southwest

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Title: Colonizing Chaco Canyon: Mapping Antiquity in the Territorial Southwest
Author: Byszewski, Berenika
Advisor(s): Goldstein, Alyosha
Committee Member(s): Lane, Maria
Wilson, Christopher
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of American Studies
Subject: Chaco Canyon
critical cartography
settler colonialism
military mapping
Navajo Expedition of 1849
Lieutenant James H. Simpson
LC Subject(s): Simpson, J.H. (James Hervey), 1813-1883--Diaries
Military topography--New Mexico
Scientific expeditions--New Mexico
Chaco Canyon (N.M.)--Antiquities
New Mexico--Antiquities
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: The 1849 Navajo Expedition was the first official US military mapping of Navajoland after the Mexican Cession, and has been recognized by historians as the first sustained window into the region and its people. Lieutenant James H. Simpson of the US Topographical Corps of Engineers was ordered to accompany the punitive expedition to document the route. Captivated by the stone ruins of Chaco Canyon, Simpson made a side excursion to record and map the structures, and contributed to the way Chaco is interpreted and imagined to this day. In this paper, I follow Lieutenant Simpson’s survey party, tracing their “discovery” and mapping of Chaco Canyon. Through an analysis of Simpson’s map and journal, I argue that the mapping effort served to fix Chaco in a new geography of antiquity that redrew the history and future of the nation, and attempted to discipline unfamiliar peoples and landscapes into the national body. This mapping constructed Chaco as a national resource, fixing its significance in both prehistory and the moment of its discovery. Tracing the particular ways this knowledge was produced through the discovery and mapping of Chaco shows how both colonial cartographies and notions of antiquity are foundational to the ongoing project of settler colonialism.
Graduation Date: December 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/17333

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Byszewski_Thesis.pdf 512.4Kb PDF View/Open Thesis text
Byszewski_Figure Appendix.pdf 40.66Mb PDF View/Open Figure Appendix

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