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A symposium to be held at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge,
11-12 April 2017
The discovery of the ‘New World’ is one of the standard reference points for defining ‘modernity’ from a European perspective. It is also a historical event that has had manifest repercussions for the interaction of human cultures around the globe. This symposium will provide the opportunity for a comparative inquiry into the ways in which key aspects of the conquest and colonisation of Latin America by Europeans have been represented and transmitted in writing, in visual culture, and in performance culture down the centuries and across a range of national cultures.
Two keynote speakers will provide the symposium with perspectives that run beyond the European.
Dr Stefanie Gänger (Assistant Professor at Cologne University) is the author of Relics of the Past: The Collecting and Studying of Pre-Columbian Antiquities in Peru and Chile, 1837–1911 (2014), and she will be speaking on the historical constraints on understanding the native cultures of Latin America through archaeology and ethnography.
Professor João Cezar de Castro Rocha (Rio de Janeiro) is President of the Brazilian Association of Comparative Literature.
His latest book is Shakespearean Cultures: The Challenge of Mimesis (forthcoming 2017), and he will speak on the role that reflections of European traditions have played within the development of Latin American cultures.
The aim of the conference is to discover, by comparing a selection of particular cases, where there is common ground among the national cultures of Europe and Latin America in the treatment of key issues, where there are significant differences, and what the nature of those differences is. Proposals from scholars at any career stage and with expertise in any relevant area, including areas of research that are currently in the process of development, will be welcome. We particularly invite contributions on cases that have presented themselves, within the cultures in which they have arisen, as innovative, provocative or controversial with regard to the long-term significance of the conquest and colonisation of Latin America, and the following list is a guide to the broad areas that particularly interest us:
- Representations that relate to the perception of a utopian potential in the settlement of South America.
- Representations of the slave trade with Africa, particularly those that relate to the unsuccessful attempts to extend the principles of the French Revolution to the West Indies.
- Representations of the landscape of South America, its wild life and its indigenous human populations that relate to the accounts of European explorers from the 16th to the 20th century.
- Representations from within the cultures of Latin America, including the native cultures, that challenge or complement European treatments of the issues.
- Commemorative practices relating to historical events associated with the conquest, and the critical or revisionary approaches to established historiography that may be reflected in such practices.
This conference is being funded by CRASSH, the Modern Humanities Research Association, and the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University. It is anticipated that a publication in a peer-reviewed series will arise from the symposium.
The organisers are David Midgley, Jenny Mander and Maya Feile Tomes at the University of Cambridge. Proposals, with an abstract no longer than 200 words please, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 November 2016.