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Presented By: Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies

EIHS Lecture: The Quetzal Crosses the Pacific: Bridging Asian and Latin American Studies

Ricardo Padrón (University of Virginia)

Ricardo Padrón Ricardo Padrón
Ricardo Padrón
In 1579, a group of Franciscan Friars entered Ming China with the intention of establishing a Catholic mission in the country. They brought with them several objects of indigenous Mexican manufacture that proved fascinating to the Ming literati who interviewed them. As far as we know, this is the first time that people in China came into contact with the material culture of colonial Spanish America. To understand the incident, we must step out of the mutually exclusive siloes of Asian and colonial Latin American studies, and question the spatiotemporal assumptions that underpin much of Pacific studies. Yet the incident does not just require us to transgress institutionalized boundaries governing research: it also provokes questions about the usefulness of a past that is all too easily reduced to an antiquarian curiosity.

Ricardo Padrón is a professor in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on Hispanic literature and culture, and conducts research on the geopolitical imagination of the early modern Hispanic world, as expressed in cartography and literature. His work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He recently served as a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and currently serves on the governing board of the Renaissance Society of America.

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.
Ricardo Padrón Ricardo Padrón
Ricardo Padrón

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