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Sebastian Diaz Angel

Graduate Student - PhD Candidate in History

Sebastian Diaz Angel

Mcgraw Hall
sd785@cornell.edu

Educational Background

BA in Political Science (2003), Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.

BA in History (2008), Universidad  Nacional de Colombia - sede Bogotá.

MA in Geography (2011), Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.

Website(s)

Overview

My research combines the history of cartography, science and technology studies, geopolitics, environmental history and digital humanities.

Research Focus

My dissertation focus on mega-infrastructures, hydro-power, counterinsurgency, cartography and development programs in Latin America during the Cold War. 

[Preliminary title of the dissertation:] Taming the Insurgent Tropical Landscapes: Cold War, Geographical Engineering and the Cartographies of Underdevelopment in Latin America (1960-1973).  Advisor: Dr. Raymond B. Craib (rbc23@cornell.edu)

The “South American Great Lakes System” (SAGLS) was a geographical engineering project of the 1960s that was never implemented. Its goal was to “improve” the environmental, economic, social, cultural, and political landscapes of South America. The SAGLS aimed to connect —using nuclear excavation techniques, if necessary— the Amazon and other mayor rivers of the continent into a series of massive interlocked artificial reservoirs. By flooding allegedly unexplored jungles considered “scarcely inhabited” by “primitive” Afro-descendant and Amerindian populations, the SAGLS promised inexhaustible source of hydropower and an enormous navigable infrastructure. A prototype pair of interconnected and power-generating artificial lakes was surveyed -under official contracts- in the province of Chocó, in Colombia, to prove the scheme’s feasibility and to generate an interoceanic passage alternate to the Panama Canal. 

The South American Great Lakes Sytem: a Megaproject of the sixties.

Analyzing previously unexamined archival materials from half a dozen countries, including numerous cartographic documents, my work re-examines the type of geographical imaginaries produced in/from/about South America’s geography, nature, resources, populations, and futures. 

By unearthing the cartographies of the SAGLS I contend that we can further analyze the links between engineering, counter-insurgency, mapping and development projects in the twentieth century. Also, how these were mobilized in the names of western civilization and security. My research re-evaluates, thus, the roles of technology, environment, and geopolitics in Latin American relationships with the U.S. and Europe during the Cold War, and de-centers traditionally one-sided narratives about North-South interactions. 

Departments/Programs

  • History

Publications

Articles in academic journals
 
Razón Cartográfica: Anatomía de un proyecto académico y pedagógico sostenido por un blog”, Ar@cne. Revista electrónica de recursos en Internet sobre Geografía y Ciencias Sociales, Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona, Nº 163, 1 de septiembre de 2012 [Online]
 
 
Chapters in edited volumes
[with Lucia Duque] “Administrative Cartography in Spanish America” and “Northern Spanish America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela)” entries for Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, Volume 5 of the History of Cartography Project, Roger Kain, Editor, Imre Demhardt and Carla Lois, Coeditors. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming.
 
Cartografías de El Dorado. Releyendo fragmentos de la historia minera de Colombia a través de algunos mapas(siglos XVI a XX)”, Historia y gobierno del territorio minero. Minería y desarrollo. Tomo 5. Bogotá: Universidad Externadode Colombia. 2016, p. 31-84.
 
Los mapas lícitos de publicar en Amberes. Redes, agentes y fuentes cartográficas usadas por Abraham Ortelius para el “Pervviae Avriferæ Regionis Typvs”, Cartógrafos para toda a Terra: produção e circulação do saber cartográfico ibero-americano: agentes e contextos, Lisboa: Centro de Estudos Geográficos da Universidade de Lisboa, 2015, p. 115-148.
 
[with Lina del Castillo and Lucia Duque] “Los mapas de la Gran Colombia”, Cartografía Hispánica: 1800-1975. Una cartografía inestable en un mundo convulso, Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa, 2014, p. 97-118.
 
[with Santiago Muñoz and Mauricio Nieto] “Desensamblando la nación. El caso del Atlas geográfico e histórico de Colombia de 1889”, Ensamblado En Colombia. Tomo 1. Ensamblando Estados. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2013, p. 183-218. 

[with Santiago Muñoz and Mauricio Nieto] “¿Cómo se hace un mapa? El caso del Atlas de José Manuel Restrepo”, Ensamblado en Colombia. Tomo 2. Ensamblando heteroglosias. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2013p, 293-310.
 
Taylorismo, saberes expertos y tecnociencia”, Pensatiempos.Ensayos de Estudiantes de Historia, Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2002, p. 119 -145.
 
Co-Edition
[with Mauricio Nieto] Dibujar y pintar el mundo: Arte, cartografía y política. Bogotá, Universidad de los Andes, 2016. 
 
[with Juan Carlos Henao] Minería y desarrollo. Tomo 5:Historia y gobierno del territorio minero. Bogotá: Universidad Externado de Colombia. 2016.
 
Exhibition catalogues
 
[with Santiago Muñoz and Mauricio Nieto] Ensamblando la Nación. Cartografía y política en la Historia de Colombia, Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes y Banco de la República, 2010.