Creating Wild Darién: Centuries of Darién’s Imaginative Geography and its Lasting Effects
Abstract

Images, maps, and written texts together may constitute an imaginative geography and provide poignant evidence for how space can be socially constructed. In this article, I demonstrate the imaginative geography of wild Darién and discuss its effects. I analyze centuries of maps, images, and other texts to illustrate the taken-for-granted representation of Darién as a rich, dangerous, and backward place. I discuss how beginning in the mid-twentieth century that imaginary facilitated outside interventions in the region that persist today – from infrastructure modernization to land grabbing. These results seek to further Latin American historiographies within political ecologies.