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All This Rising: The Humanities in the Next Ten Years, Featuring Ricardo Padrón

The Phenomenology of Distance in Early Modern Hispanic Geopolitics

Ricardo Padrón

University of Virginia

This lecture, part of a new series featuring ideas and methods that will mark new paths for the humanities, will explore some of the ways that maps and texts can be read in terms of the phenomenology of distance.

Our understanding of early modern history is mediated by maps that have little to do with the way space and distance was lived and conceived during the period. During the long sixteenth century, bounded territories mattered less than routes and distances, measured in terms of the time and effort it took to traverse them. This point is crucial to understanding, not only the way Spain’s far-flung empire was governed, but how it was imagined. It is particularly important for understanding the place of the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the early modern Hispanic geopolitical imagination.

In order to understand how the global space of early modern empire figured in that imagination, we must learn how to read representations of space, verbal and cartographic, for what they have to say about distance. That distance, in turn, must be understood phenomenologically rather than numerically.  


About the Speaker

 Ricardo Padrón is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia. He is the author of two monographs, The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature and Empire in Early Modern Spain (Chicago 2004) and The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Early Modern Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West (Chicago 2020), as well as of numerous articles on the historiography, cartography, epic and lyric poetry of early modern Spain. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Representations, the Colonial Latin American Review, and the Review of Culture (Macau). His work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Renaissance Society of America.




Wednesday, February 24, 2021. 10:30AM




Stanford Humanities Center



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