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Between Worlds: The European Imperial Go-Between

Research seminar

Prof. Jorge Flores

Tuesdays 15:10-17:00, sala Belvedere

Secretary: Roberta Saccon (Office VS 013)

Starts on 10 January 2012 

Seminar material


Seminar description

This seminar focus on those who "traveled" between diverse cultures and societies in the early modern period and aims to study characters, typologies and mechanisms of cultural mediation in a imperial framework.


10 January: Introduction – The Vocabulary of Cultural Brokerage

• Clifford Geertz, “The Javanese Kijaji. The changing role of a Cultural Broker”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2:2 (Jan. 1960), pp. 228-249.

• Peter Burke, Cultural Hybridity, Polity Press, 2009, pp. 1-12, 34-65.


17 January: Imperial Spaces and Social Environments of Cultural Mediation

• Marie Louise Pratt, “Introduction: Criticism in the Contact Zone”, in Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, Routledge, 1992, ch. 1, pp. 1-14.

• Richard White, “The “Middle Ground”, in The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, Cambridge University Press, 1991, ch. 2, pp. 50-93.

• Peter Mark & José da Silva Horta, “Catholics, Jews, and Muslims in early seventeenth-century Guiné”, in Richard L. Kagan & Phillip D. Morgan (eds.), Atlantic Diasporas. Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500-1800, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009, ch. 9, pp. 170-194.


24 January: Language and Translation

• Alida C. Metcalf, “Go-betweens”, in Go-betweens and the Colonization of Brazil, 1500-1600, University of Texas Press, 2005, ch. 1, pp. 1-15.

• E. Natalie Rothman, “Interpreting Dragomans: Boundaries and Crossings in the Early Modern Mediterranean”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 51:4 (Oct. 2009), pp. 771-800.

• Natalie Zemon Davis, “Translation, Transmission, and Distance”, in Trickster Travels. A sixteenth-century Muslim between Worlds, ch. 8, pp. 223-244 (+ notes, pp. 359-368).

• Mark Meuwese, “Samuel Cohen (c. 1600-1642): Jewish Translator in Brazil, Curaçao and Angola”, in Karen Racine & Beatriz Gallotti Mamigonian (eds.), The Human Tradition in the Atlantic World, 1500-1850, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010, pp. 27-42.


31 January: Mediterranean Go-Betweens

Session with Daniel Hershenzon (MWF, HEC), readings TBA


7 February: Knowledge

• Barbara Mundy, “The Native Mapping Tradition in the Colonial Period”, in The Mapping of New Spain. Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones Geograficas, The University of Chicago Press, 1996, ch. 5, pp. 91-133.

• Kapil Raj, “Mapping knowledge go-betweens in Calcutta, 1770-1820”, in Simon Schaffer et al (eds.), The Brokered World. Go-Betweens and Global Intelligence, 1770-1820, Science History Publications, 2009, ch. 3, pp. 105-150.

• Juan Pimentel, “Across Nations and Ages: The Creole Collector and the Many Lives of the Magtherium”, in Simon Schaffer et al (eds.), The Brokered World. Go-Betweens and Global Intelligence, 1770-1820, Science History Publications, 2009, ch. 8, pp. 321-353.


14 February: Religion and Conversion

• Alida C. Metcalf, “Disillusioned Go-betweens: The Politics of Mediation and the Transformation of the Jesuit Missionary Enterprise in Sixteenth-Century Brazil”, Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, LXXVII, (2008), pp. 283-319.

• Emma Anderson, The Betrayal of Faith: the Tragic Journey of a colonial native convert, Harvard University Press, 2007, prologue, pp. 1-10; ch. 5, pp. 207-234.

• Miriam Bodian, “A converso surgeon in the viceroyalty of Peru”, in Dying in the Law of Moses. Crypto-Jewish Martyrdom in the Iberian World, Indiana University Press, 2007, ch. 5, pp. 117-152.

• Daniel Hershenzon, “Complain and Threaten: Captivity and Religious Violence in the 17th Century Mediterranean”.

• Daniel Hershenzon, “Excerpts taken from Spanish documents compiled between 1580 and 1700”.


21 February: Identities

• Linda Colley, “Going native, telling tales: captivity, collaborations and Empire”, Past and Present, 168 (2000), pp. 170-193.

• James Sweet, “Mistaken Identities? Olaudah Equiano, Domingos Álvares, and the Methodological Challenges of Studying the African Diaspora”, American Historical Review, 114:2 (Apr. 2009), pp. 279-306.

• Ryan Dominic Crewe, “Brave New Spain: An Irishman’s Independence Plot in Seventeenth-Century Mexico”, Past and Present, 207:1 (2010), pp. 53-87.


6 March: Cultural Brokerage and Scale: Between Micro and Macro

Session with Sanjay Subrahmanyam (Department of History, UCLA)

• Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Introduction: Three (and More) Ways to Be Alien”, in Three Ways to Be Alien. Travails & Encounters in the Early Modern World, Brandeis University Press, 2011, pp. 1-22.

• Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Some Afterthoughts”, in Simon Schaffer et al (eds.), The Brokered World. Go-betweens and Global Intelligence, 1770-1820, Science History Publications, 2009, cap. 11, pp. 429-440.

• History speaks many languages: An interview with Sanjay Subrahmanyam


13 March: Gender

• Leonard Blussé, Bitter Bonds: A colonial divorce drama of the seventeenth century, Markus Wiener Publishers, 2002, pp. 1-21, 159-171, 173-178.

• Linda Colley, The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh. A Woman in World History, Anchor Books, 2007, pp. xix-xxxii, 288-303.




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