Peter Morgan (UCL) - 2019-20 Students

Remapping the Globe in an Imperial Century: Investigating the Textual Cartographies of Simón Bolívar, Domingo Sarmiento, and José Martí

As a contribution to Intellectual History, this project is best-characterised as two, related parts: (I) an elaboration of a new method – which I term ‘Textual Cartography’ – for the Global Intellectual History sub-field and (II) the application of this method to three figures of 19th century Latin American political thought: Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), Domingo Sarmiento (1811-88), and Jose Marti (1853-95). These three have been chosen for their shared canonical status and their common intellectual engagement with imperial power and Spanish America’s place in a world dominated by it. The latter exercise in application will, I am confident, renovate our understanding of what these actors were doing with their writing which, in turn, will illustrate the value of Textual Cartography as a new form of interpretive practise. Textual Cartography is an approach focused upon the ways in which the concepts in the archive of Intellectual History have been used by political thinkers as ‘cartographic devices’ with which to inscribe spaces of politico-cultural significance onto their discursive constructions of the globe. Concretely, this means when concepts have been used as schema for the spatial classification – often normative – of the Earth’s surface. The potential utility of this approach is expansive. Its focus suggests no immediate limits on subject matter. As such, the disciplinary terrains beyond Intellectual History and toward the broader Humanities cannot be put out-of-bounds to Textual Cartography. Bolivar, Sarmiento, and Marti make a good strategic choice for the effective demonstration of Textual Cartography. As canonical figures in the history of Latin American political thought, with a subsequent concentration of readings built up around them, they are the ideal historiographical choice for contrastively showing the new interpretive gains in my method. Moreover, each of them has been conventionally framed by analysts within the national category, but here, with a method developed out of Global Intellectual History, the globality of their imaginings is centred. This project will thus also do important, general work in bringing Latin American intellectual history into the arc of the incipient ‘Global turn’ in our field.

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