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Title: States of Nature: Catastrophe, History and the Reconstruction of Spanish America
Authors: Fonseca Suárez, Carlos
Advisors: Nouzeilles, Gabriela
Gallo, Rubén
Contributors: Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures Department
Keywords: 19th Century
Natural Catastrophe
Subjects: Latin American literature
Latin American studies
Latin American history
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: States of Nature: Catastrophe, History, and the Reconstruction of Latin America explores the implications that a catastrophic paradigm of history had upon the transatlantic historiography of the so-called Age of Revolutions that brought the collapse of empires throughout the Americas. Through a study of the philosophical, literary as well as artistic representations of three catastrophic figures - chapters that focus on earthquakes, volcanoes and plagues - the dissertation aims to provide a critical model through which to understand the ways in which history and nature overlapped in the ideological, epistemological, as well as practical "reconstruction" of Spanish America that took place amidst the emergence of Latin America's modern nation states. Through the success of studies such as Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities and Doris Sommer's Foundational Fictions, the historiography of the Latin American "long nineteenth century" - starting at the Haitian Revolution and going up to the Mexican Revolution - has been dominated by the study of national narratives as the place where ideological tensions were resolved against the figure of the emerging modern state. Despite their undeniable insights, these studies - by providing a harmonious, enlightened, progressive narrative of the emerging revolutions - fail to account for the violent character of Latin America's sudden, as well as singular, entrance into the modern landscape. I believe that it is time to explore what lies beyond the historiography of the "happy" national fictions. By analyzing how the figure of catastrophe disrupts the basic figures of enlightened historiography - representation, progress and rationality - each of the chapters explores the ways in which nature came to be seen, within the long nineteenth century, as the locus of disruptive historical events rather than organic unity.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

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