Winter-Spring 2017

Thursdays, 13:00 (except Feb 8, which is a Wednesday)


Thursday, January 26


Professor Marcos Cueto (FIOCRUZ) and Dr Mark Thurner (ILAS)

‘Rethinking the History of Science and Knowledge in Latin America’


In this masterclass, Prof. Cueto and Dr Thurner will present evidence and arguments for a new vision of the history of science and knowledge in Latin America. Topics to be examined include the histories of medicine, the natural sciences, and museum anthropology.


*Wednesday, February 8 (Room G34)

Professor Iris Kantor (University of Sao Paulo)

‘The Transformation of Atlantic Slave Trade Networks in Portuguese Cartography (1750-1850)’


A series of events driven by the Seven Years’ War and, later, the rebellion in the Thirteen Colonies in North America and the Napoleonic expansion in Europe marked the transformation of the Atlantic slave trade network on a global scale. In this presentation I discuss the geopolitical contexts in which cartographic documentation of the period was produced by exploring the point of view of mapmakers working in Portuguese America. Brazilian historiography has been demonstrating the importance of the bilateral trading relations between Portuguese America and ports of Africa, reiterating the significance of the interweaving of commercial interests in slave trading on both sides of the Atlantic, but also emphasizing its importance in the construction of Afro-Luso-Brazilian nautical knowledge. It is well known how this was materialized in ships’ logs, maps, navigation diaries and even dictionaries of African languages that became vital to other maritime empires when the maritime primacy of Portuguese slave trade was definitively eclipsed by Holland, England and France. In the case of the Portuguese empire, the structural transformation of the slave trade, triggered by the creation of the Pombal trading companies, meant the incorporation of the eastern coast of Africa in Atlantic slave trade networks, as seen in cartographic documentation. By the end of the 18th Century the European ports and factories in Africa were fully recorded by the cartographers from Portuguese America with great accuracy, spreading out important nautical and geographical information. Comparing the maps of different maritime empires, what can we deduce about the transformation of the Atlantic commercial networks? What are the differences between the Luso-Brazilian mapping and European cartography in the same period?


March 9 (Room 246)

Dr. Guiliana Borea (PUCP, Lima-ILAS, SAS)

‘Art and Anthropology: Contributions from Latin America’


This talk is based on my introduction to the volume Arte y Antropologia: Estudios, Encuentros y Nuevos Horizontes (Fondo Editorial PUCP, 2017). The book is comprised by contributions from anthropologists; historians, philosophers of art, and artists who dialogue with anthropology. It shows how art and anthropology not only share a broad interest in the cultural, the social or the political but discuss similar specific themes nurturing each other in their analysis, methods and reflexivity.

I will provide a historical account of the ways in which anthropology has approached the study of art and their interrelations, highlighting as part of this history contributions from Latin America such as the Social Theory of Art; studies on hybridization; “arte popular” and its limits; alternative museologies; Amazonian ontologies and synesthesia; and concerns regarding art and memory. I will explain the four sections of the book and its contributions to these and other debates with the aim to enlarge the studies, collaborations and perspectives on art and anthropology.


March 16 (Room 349) CANCELLED

Dr Mark Harris (St Andrews)

‘The Brazilian Amazon, its People and the Circulation of Knowledge’


Knowledge about the Brazilian Amazon for a global academic community is often associated with indigenous societies and their anthropologists and advocates. In this presentation I will consider other kinds of knowledge practices that complement this headline Amazon. In particular I will examine the construction of the past of the Amazon and the character of materials used to build a regional historiography. This intellectual tradition reveals another Amazon, for sure, and one where collaborative efforts between native and outsider are as significant and profound as they are in more popular contemporary versions. They are, however, hidden from view, buried in an archive that takes various forms.


May 18

Dr Christopher Johnson (Warburg Institute)

‘On the Encyclopedic Impulse in seventeenth-century Mexico’

Gordon Room, G34, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

This presentation will trace the circulation of European encyclopedic texts and how they informed poetic and artistic invention in the early colonial period. It will consider instances in which the encyclopedic materia has indigenous origins only to be transformed and published in Europe and then shipped back to Mexico. But it will also argue that various encyclopedic compendia with European origins served an essential role in distilling and transporting knowledge from the Old to the New World in a manner that shaped epistemologies, spurred invention, and addressed the intellectual and cultural desires of a Creole readership.