Mapping the once and future strait: Place, time, and Torres Strait from the sixteenth century to the Pleistocene

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    Thematically, this article tracks European imagining, ‘discovery’, naming, and mapping of the geographical space between modern Papua New Guinea and Australia – called Torres Strait since the 1770s – and the local encounters with places and people which enabled or constrained that knowing from the early sixteenth century. The methodological focus is materiality. This cartographic knowledge was generated empirically in embodied encounters; materialized in charts, writings, or drawings; reinscribed materially in maps and globes; and translated into virtual materiality via high resolution digital imaging. The theoretical focus is time. Suspending awareness of later outcomes and nomenclatures, I approximate pasts as they might have seemed to diverse contemporary protagonists. This anti-teleological history is nonetheless episodic and chronologically sequential. I conclude by acknowledging other chrono-logics – Indigenous, Ethnographic, Archaeological, and digital – which enfold that conventional trajectory and qualify or disrupt History's linear temporality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-43
    JournalHistory and Anthropology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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