I began this study with a clear methodological approach outlined from my work in my Art History. This framework was addressed briefly in my project proposal. I already understood that my discussion would be framed by Post-colonial theory. Edward Said formed the foundations of the post-colonial theory school of thought with his Orientalism. Here he defined the Colonial power as “center” and the colonized land as the distant “periphery.” The periphery would import ides and culture from the “center.” May theorists after Said like Homi Bhabha and Gayatari Chakravorty Spivak have built upon this foundation, challenging its assumptions and drawing new conclusion. In particular, I wanted to draw upon Bhabha’s work in The Location of Culture, where he describes the center and periphery. In this work, Bhabha discusses the transfer of culture during the colonial era. He says that we should not look for the transplantation of culture, but rather a hybridity that exists at the periphery. This holds true with the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Virgin of los Remedios in Mexico. Neither image was transplanted exactly as it exists in Spain, but rather was translated into a hybrid image incorporating both European and Nahua elements.
While these theories hold true when looking at colonized societies, they are not often applied to the colonizer. Studies rarely, if ever, investigate the hybridity of culture occurring with the import of colonial goods. In embarking on this project, I sought to reverse the center and periphery to investigate Spain as the location of hybrid culture and hybrid forms.
This methodological approach has remained in the framework of my project development. However, digital methodologies have also become important in the development of this map. In particular, the work of Anne Kelly Knowles, Professor of Geography at Middlebury College has played an integral role in the theoretical framework of this digital project. Her article, The contested nature of historical GIS, addresses the “why” of mapping. I hope I explain this “why” throughout my project. In 2015, Paul B. Jaskot and Anne Kelly Knowles hosted a digital mapping workshop for art historians. The pair had found that when art historians were using digital mapping tools, they only applied them after the fact, using them as “exhibits,” rather than during the research process. In their mapping workshop which they document in their article, “A Research-Based Model for Digital Mapping and Art History: Notes from the Field”, they make a point to introduce Art Historians to the ways in which they can use mapping for research. I have tried to apply this throughout my research as well. I think their argument proposes an important point about using digital tools throughout research rather than solely in the conclusion. This is important as digital scholarship continues to develop. As Jaskot et. al. references, it is important to develop these tools to be more than just exhibits. I hope that I have done that.