History From A Map
History is usually taught or conveyed through anecdotes or timelines of events but there is a new Belizean history book that creates a more vivid perspective on history. The book is called British Honduras: The Invention of a Colonial Territory. It demonstrates Belizean history through 19th century maps. The author Odile Hoffman is a geographer at the Institute of Research for Development in France and it took her and Belizean researchers and observers about 8 months to complete the book. A launch was held today at the Leo Bradley Library to celebrate its publication. Director of Cubola Productions, Montse Duran says that in this book the narrative resonates from both the land as well as its occupants.
Montse Casademunt, Director of Cubola Productions
"She has this publication and she approached Cubola to see if we would join with this institution to publish the book and it was really a privilege to work with them. They are very professional and of course she is a great academic. This book analyses maps, how maps tell the story and it depends on who commission the maps, you read a different story. The research was done in different archives and of course in the UK, Spain, France and Mexico. So you have differences for the maps and you are in the history of Belize reading from a map perspective."
Lucesita Bacab, Belize Adventist College
"I am a social studies teacher, so we are going to use it especially for the history part, like for example in 1st form and 2nd form, they do colonialism, so the material will be very helpful to us. It will bring us more knowledge in the classroom and of course we will share that with our students."
Keisha Gentle, Library Assistant, UB
"We have Belize connection and many times our students come in to borrow books that sometimes the book store doesn't have, so if they want they can come to the library to find out if we have the book and they can borrow the book to use within the library."
Several secondary and tertiary level schools will receive copies of the book as well as library's in the city. The book is available for purchase at the Image Factory.
Geographer Launches New Book
A book of maps by geographer Doctor Odile Hoffman was launched today at the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City. Five hundred copies of the publication, British Honduras: The Invention of a Colonial Territory – Mapping and Spatial Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century were donated courtesy of the publisher, Cubola Productions, to high schools and libraries across the country. The publication provides a history of Belize through maps; it took the author years to research the information in archives in France, Mexico, the UK, Spain as well as Belize. Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Cubola Production has been a pioneer in Belizean publishing, promoting the works of established writers, while supporting the academic community and providing accurate, informative and engaging educational publications to various sectors. And today, at the Leo Bradley Library, another book was officially launched to the public. British Honduras: the Intervention of a Colonial Territory.
Montse Casademunt, Publisher/Director, Cubola Productions
“A few years ago, I was contacted by Odile Hoffmann, the author of the book and she had been doing research in Belize about land, interpreting maps in the nineteenth century, eighteenth century. And she had this publication and she approached Cubola to see if it would join with this institution to publish the book and it was really a privilege to work with them. They are very thorough, very professional and of course she is a great academic. And we ended up with a very nice publication, in color—something that we could never afford on our own. So we are very grateful to her because it was a good example of cooperation between a developed country and Belize.”
The book, which speaks to the history of Belize through mapping and spatial knowledge in the nineteenth century, is the brainchild of geographer, Doctor Odile Hoffmann of the Institute of Research and Development in France. With the assistance of Belize’s Institute for Social and Cultural Research, the University of Belize and the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology in Mexico, the book was created.
“What this book does is analyses maps; how maps tell the story. And it depends on who commissions the maps; you read one story or a different story. So the research was done at different archives—in the UK, Spain, also in France and in Mexico. So you have different sources for the maps and I think you are actually reading the history of Belize from a map perspective and that is what is new in this book.”
On hand at today’s launch were representatives from several institutions, who say that the donated book will be used to impart further knowledge to students and the wider community of the history of the country.
Lucesita Bacab, Social Studies Teacher, Belize Adventist College
“I am a Social Studies teacher so we are going to use it especially for the history part. For example, first form and second form do colonialism so the material will be very helpful to us. It will bring us more knowledge in the classroom and of course we will share that with our students.”
“Will it be where you guys are going to photocopy this and provide it to the students or will it just be used as added information for you to include in your plan?”
“Yes, I believe that at this point, we are going to keep it as teacher resource. As a resource and if we see that it is very useful for the students then later on we can ask for copies or do photocopies if it is allowed.”
Keisha Gentle, Library Assistant, University of Belize
“We have a Belize collection and there are times when students come in to borrow books that sometimes the bookstore doesn’t have. So if they want they can come to the library to find the book and they can borrow the book to use within the library.”
“Now we know that there are four campuses that the University of Belize has throughout the country. tell us about whether this will be available in all those…”
“Well there is only one library in Belize City for the U.B. So students from all campuses, if they need the use of the book, they will need to visit the library at the management and social science campus to borrow the book and use it in the library.”
The book will be available across the country for around thirty-five Belize dollars. Duane Moody for News Five.