Arman Kassam named winner of the David Rumsey Map Center/California Map Society Essay Contest 2019-20

July 29, 2020
Image detail from Urbano Monte, Tavola XXXXII. Che Ha Sua Superiore La Tavola. XXIIII. Libro Terzo. 1587.

The California Map Society and David Rumsey Map Center are happy to announce that Arman Kassam has won the fourth annual David Rumsey Map Center/California Map Society Essay Contest 2019-20. Congratulations, Arman!

His winning paper, "Mapamundi as Self-Portrait: Deference and Dissidence in the Worlds of Guaman Poma and Urbano Monte", compares the world maps of two amateur cartographers from the end of the sixteenth century. Their stories bear a series of rich parallels: they both likely came from noble lineages, lived in territories recently brought under Habsburg control, and cared deeply about some form of humanist erudition. Importantly, they both found in the world map a convenient medium for their projects of political power and enlightenment despite being on opposite ends of the Atlantic. This paper analyzes the tension between deference and dissidence to the Habsburg crown as it surfaces on Poma's and Monte's maps. Ultimately, we find that both cartographers, in their effort to carve a space for themselves in a globalized world, end up transformed by that world.

Arman will be presenting his essay at the Center and in a Southern California location at a future date yet to be determined.

Arman Kassam, 2019 winner of the David Rumsey Map Center-California Map Society Essay Contest

 Arman Kassam is a rising junior at Stanford, majoring in History and prospectively minoring in Iranian Studies. He is passionate about a handful of things: cartography, The Lord of the Rings, traditional Gujarati dance, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. He currently lives in Durham, North Carolina with his parents and - to his utter delight - his two dogs, Storm and Smokey.