Workshop 1: Writing the Republic: Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America


University of Warwick, 7-8 November 2008

Workshop 1 will examine the importance of historical writing to the development of national and pan-American identities. The works of national history produced during the nineteenth century, which were almost invariably authored by members of the political and economic elite, encoded complex visions of the nation-state, its past, and its future. At the same time, they often chronicled the history not simply of individual nations but also of much broader regions such as ‘South America’. This workshop will study the central role played by historical writings in the development of official nationalism, while at the same time probing the tensions between nationalism and pan-Americanism embedded in these texts. The centrality of historical writing to the creation of political power is amply illustrated by the recent debates in Mexico over the composition of school history textbooks; conference participants will therefore be asked to consider not only the contemporary impact of nineteenth-century historical writing, but also the continuing significance of nineteenth-century history in the second century of political independence