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Title: The city delineated : aesthetic and ideological aspects of colonial discourse in New York
Author: Pierce, Christopher Douglas
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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The image has a key role to play in New York City's colonial history. Incorporating an array of unpublished visual and cartographic sources, this dissertation has two principal objectives: [i] to survey the written and graphic records of contemporary cartographers and philosophers, the West India Company, the colonists, and Patroons, with particular emphasis on their polemical aspects, and [ii] to undertake a critical review of existing scholarship's handling of this material, with a view to demonstrating its narrowness. What was New Amsterdam, or more precisely, what has New Amsterdam been thought to have been? After the Introduction defining the dissertation's methodology, the first two chapters provide a broader perspective on representations of the city by analysing visual depictions of colonial New York produced between c. 1776 and 1932. Chapter 1, Practising Peeping! New Notes and Comments on the "Collection des Prospects" ofNew York City, examines the wide-ranging cultural, political and commercial effects associated with one series of eighteenth-century European images of colonial New York. Chapter 2, The 'Wonder-Less' Image of the City: Representations of New Amsterdam in the 19th and 20th Century, surveys the nineteenth and twentieth-century American visual and literary response to the city. The remaining chapters discuss aspects of colonial New York from c. 1617 to 1736, the period of the dissertation's main focus. Chapter 3, On Being In/Between: Expanding the Cultural Episteme in New Netherland, updates the architectural terminology of recent colonial scholarship to provide a new image of the colonists' urban objectives and the spatial construction of colonial rhetoric. Chapter 4, A Heuristic Instrument: The Directors' City, examines how the Special Instructions for the Engineer and Surveyor, Cryn Fredericxsz (etc.) (1625) acted as a key signifier of the Company's colonial teleology, and at the same time fashioned a crucial philosophical and sociological niche in the history of the ideal city. Chapter 5, Take Four: The Pitfalls of a Classical Education, negotiates three unlikely sources: Sebastiano Serlio's Architettura, Libro de prospettiva (1545), Sir Thomas More's Utopia (1516), and Sir Francis Bacon's Gesta Grayorum (1594), to construct the ideological entity of Manhattan Island. Chapter 6, The Politics of Taste: A Short Essay Resuscitating Willem Kieft, dismantles the unwarranted intellectual favouritism showered on Peter Stuyvesant. It illustrates how, between 1637 and 1647, Kieft, employing ideologies ranging from Aristotle to Niccolo Machiavelli and spatial strategies popularised in literary Utopias, revolutionised the physical concept of the colony. Chapter 7, Flushing Out Fecund Faces: Urbanism in New Amsterdam, 1647-1664, challenges standard assessments of Stuyvesant's colony through a case study of Afbeeldinge van de Stadt Amsterdam in Nieuw Neederlandt (c. 1665-70), a flawed source which has underpinned later discussion. In conclusion, Chapter 8, Transforming Cultural Determinacy: Early Engravings ofNew York City, 1651-1736, investigates how the commercialism of engraving affected the image of the city, and transformed its representation as a Dutch settlement into a British one.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available