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Writing the Republic

Workshop 1: Writing the Republic: Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America

University of Warwick, 7-8 November 2008

Workshop 1 will examine the importance of historical writing to the development of national and pan-American identities. The works of national history produced during the nineteenth century, which were almost invariably authored by members of the political and economic elite, encoded complex visions of the nation-state, its past, and its future. At the same time, they often chronicled the history not simply of individual nations but also of much broader regions such as ‘South America’. This workshop will study the central role played by historical writings in the development of official nationalism, while at the same time probing the tensions between nationalism and pan-Americanism embedded in these texts. The centrality of historical writing to the creation of political power is amply illustrated by the recent debates in Mexico over the composition of school history textbooks; conference participants will therefore be asked to consider not only the contemporary impact of nineteenth-century historical writing, but also the continuing significance of nineteenth-century history in the second century of political independence.

The University of Warwick

The University of Warwick was founded in 1964. It now accommodates nearly 16,000 students and some 5,000 academic staff. It is one of the leading research institutions in the UK—the 2001 RAE placed Warwick fifth in its overall ranking of UK universities, and over 90% of its staff work in 5 or 5* departments—with a distinctive emphasis on interdisciplinarity. The history department is one of the largest and strongest in the country, with a good international reputation and high rankings in university guides and surveys. There are core research groups in modern British and French social and cultural history, and specialists working on Western European, Eastern European and Indian history, as well as a unique concentration of US, Caribbean and Latin American historians. Research interests in Spanish American culture and society, and nationalism more broadly, are further shared by staff in the departments of English and comparative literary studies, classics, politics, and the centre for Caribbean studies.