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

All This Rising: The Humanities in the Next Ten Years

"The Phenomenology of Distance in Early Modern Hispanic Geopolitics"

February 24, 2021

Lecture by Ricardo Padrón

University of Virginia

This lecture, part of a new series featuring ideas and methods that will mark new paths for the humanities, explores 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.