Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2014

Department

History

Abstract

This article analyzes the representation of al-Andalus and North Africa in medieval Islamic maps from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries. In contrast to other maps of the Mediterranean, which display a veneer of harmony and balance, the image of the Maghrib is by deliberate design one of conflict and confusion; of love and hate; of male vs. female; of desire vs rejection. This paper interprets and explains the reasons behind the unusual depiction of Andalus and the Maghrib by medieval Islamic cartographers. In addition, this article develops a new methodology of interpreting medieval Islamic maps employing a deconstruction of the forms through an analysis of different levels of gaze. The analysis unfolds into the use of erotic and nostalgic Hispano-Arabic poetry as a lens of interpretation for Islamic maps.

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