- Maria Gonzalez Pendas
- Audience open exclusively to Columbia faculty, students, and invited guests
- All others interested in attending, please email SOF/Heyman at [email protected].
I am interested in how dominant historiographical categories that work well for a handful of western European societies have come to stand for general theories of knowledge and modernity. In this case, I want to explore how such categories like the public sphere, print culture, the republic of letters led to alleged breakthroughs: the Scientific Revolution, centers of calculation, the Enlightenment, namely, the vast accumulation of new empirical knowledge that transformed the global economy, leading to the Industrial Revolution.
I use petitioning in 16th-century Peru and Mexico to demonstrate the opposite, namely, that vertical manuscript communication and cyphered secrecy between multiethnic vassals and the monarchy played a far more important role in ushering modernity than any printing press or public sphere.
Yet the problem is much larger. It lies ultimately in the hardening and reifying of the category of the “West,” made worse by the provincializing of “Europe.” This type of postcolonial discourse has ceded to three tiny countries in Europe the global construction of early modern knowledge as “Western.” These moves, in turn, have rendered invisible vast provinces of the history of the global south.
- Envisioning the Kibbutz: Americans and Israeli Cooperatives in the 1960s and 1970s
- “To stop the clock of busy existence”: Paralysis and Temporal and Spatial Modes of Observation and Obfuscation in Victorian Literature
- Maoist Bromides, a Presidente Gonzalo Cult, and an Andean Cultural Revolution
- My Life as a Spy: Investigations in a Secret Police File
Mapping Time in the 20th (and 21st) Century