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Conservative Sensibilities: Literary imaginations and the Press in Nineteenth-century Latin America

Research project
Active research
Project size
4,1 MSEK
Project period
2019 - 2021
Project owner
Department of Languages and Literatures

Short description

The current global conservative turn appeals to a nostalgia for a collective past. In nineteenth-century Latin America, where liberal thought was dominant in the formation of the new nations, this nostalgia was also present. However, literary scholars have mainly focused on the relation between literature, nation, and liberal thought. This three-year project argues that to fully understand cultural resistance to liberal reforms, we need to study the era’s conservative sensibilities –the aesthetic expressions of conservatism. Therefore, we will explore how literary texts published in the main site for public debate, the press, expressed conservative values during the consolidation of two modern nations, Argentina and Mexico.

The current global conservative turn appeals to a nostalgia for a collective past. In nineteenth-century Latin America, where liberal thought was dominant in the formation of the new nations, this nostalgia was also present. However, literary scholars have mainly focused on the relation between literature, nation, and liberal thought. This three-year project argues that to fully understand cultural resistance to liberal reforms, we need to study the era’s conservative sensibilities –the aesthetic expressions of conservatism. Therefore, we will explore how literary texts published in the main site for public debate, the press, expressed conservative values during the consolidation of two modern nations, Argentina and Mexico. The first step will be to retrieve the relevant publications from library archives. The second, to engage in a close reading of articles of manners, chronicles, short-stories and other literary pieces published in the press, contextualizing them in the particular contemporary debates. The aim is to describe how aesthetic forms and literary traditions expressed conservative values. The project will expose matters such as how literature argued for the preservation of social structures or defended Catholic and colonial values. Besides enriching the comprehension of how aesthetics and politics interacted in giving form to conservative values in 19th-century Latin America, the project will contribute to making archival material accessible for further research.

While both researchers carry out research on the digital archives available on-line (university libraries, HathyTrust, Archive.org, and so on), many of the materials needed for this research project (19th century periodical publications of a conservative tendence) are not digitalized and require a personal visit to the repositories.

Argentina (Buenos Aires)

  • Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno
  • Biblioteca del Museo Mitre
  • Biblioteca de la Academia Argentina de Letras
  • Biblioteca de Maestros
  • Biblioteca del Jockey Club

Mexico

  • Hemeroteca Nacional de México
  • Biblioteca Nacional de México
  • Biblioteca Central de la UNAM
  • Biblioteca Franciscana
  • Bibliteca de la UDLAP

Spain

  • Biblioteca Nacional de España
  • Biblioteca de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, AECID
  • Biblioteca Americanista de Sevilla (CSIC)
  • Archivo de Indias
  • Biblioteca del Museo Casa de los Tiros

Cuba

  • Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí
  • Andrea Castro: Conservative Economies of Knowledge in Nineteenth-century Latin-American and Spanish Press. American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting ACLA 2021. Reception of abstracts is open until October 31, 2020.
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik: Leer el cuerpo del costumbrismo decimonónico: individuos y multitudes. Participants: Brendan Lactot (University of Puget Sound), Wadda Ríos-Font (Barnard College at Columbia University), Andrea Castro (University of Gothenburg), and Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik (University of Bergen). Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana IILI 2021 - XLII International Congress, Reims (France), 7-10 July 2021.
  • Andrea Castro: Nineteenth-Century Conservatism, Aesthetics and the Press in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. Participants: Kevin Anzzolin (University of Winsconsin-Stout), Andrea Castro (University of Gothenburg), Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón (Oberlin College), Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik (University of Bergen), and Ty West (St. Marys College, Notre Dame). This web-seminar replaced the panel that was to be presented at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting ACLA annual meeting in Chicago 19-22 March, 2020, cancelled in the wake of the corona crisis. Zoom, 20 March 2020.
  • Andrea Castro (University of Gothenburg): "The Catholic Press as Material Experience of Community: El Católico Argentino (1874–1876)." The American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, USA, March 2020 (CONFERENCE CANCELED). Web seminar organized for table participants by the Research Group Conservative Sensibilities, 20 March 2020.
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik: "Editorial and Ideological Collaborations During the Tragic Decade in México: El museo mexicano (1843-1845)." The American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, USA, March 2020 (CONFERENCE CANCELED). Web seminar organized for table participants by the Research Group Conservative Sensibilities, 20 March 2020.
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik: "Age and the Elderly in The Mexicans Painted by Themselves (1854-1855)." Modern Language Association MLA International Symposium. Lisbon, July 2019.
  • Andrea Castro: Políticas de lo íntimo: la poesía en El Católico Argentino (1874-1876)”. XIX Congreso de la Federación Internacional de Estudios Sobre América Latina y el Caribe FIEALC. Szeged, Hungary, June 2019.
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik: "Quejas, ansiedades y carencias. Sobre la soberanía popular en El museo mexicano (1843-1845)." XIX Congreso de la Federación Internacional de Estudios Sobre América Latina y el Caribe FIEALC. Szeged, Hungary, June 2019.
  • Andrea Castro (with Linda Karlsson Hammarfeld): The Archive – between practice and aesthetics. Interdisciplinary workshop at the University of Gothenburg, 20–21 August 2019.
  • Andrea Castro: Poesía y doctrina: el papel de la literatura en El Católico Argentino (1874–1876). Seminario Permanente de Cultura Gráfica, Instituto de Literatura Hispanoamericana, University of Buenos Aires, 20 November 2019.
  • Andrea Castro: “Cómo estudiar las sensibilidades conservadoras en la Argentina del siglo XIX.” Jornadas de doctorandos de literaturas hispánicas en Suecia, University of Lund, 9 May 2019.
  • Andrea Castro: “Poetry, Doctrine and Subjectivity in the Late Nineteenth-Century Catholic Press.” Tiempo Histórico, vol. 20,  2020, pp. 79–100. http://revistas.academia.cl/index.php/tiempohistorico/article/view/1732/1836
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik: "Pedagogical Programs for a Period of Crisis: El museo mexicano (1843-1845)." Tiempo Histórico vol. 20, 2020, pp. 37-55. http://revistas.academia.cl/index.php/tiempohistorico/article/view/1730/1832
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik: "Ese monte es mío: geografía, derecho y moral en La parcela (1898) de José López-Portillo y Rojas." Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, vol. 96, no. 2, 2019, pp. 145-162.
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik & Andrea Castro: “Los cargadores de agua. La figura literaria del aguador de Ciudad de México en el siglo XIX.” Decimonónica. Journal of Nineteenth Century Hispanic Cultural Production, vol. 15, no. 2, 2018, pp. 29–47.
  • Andrea Castro: "The Coolness of Nordic Science in fin-de-siècle Latin-American Literary Imagination." In: Nordic Cool: An Experiment with Literary History . Hermansson, G. & Jørgensen, J. L. (eds.). John Benjamins Publishing. (in press).
  • Andrea Castro: “Estética y doctrina – el lugar de la literatura en El Católico Argentino”. In: Sensibilidades conservadoras. El debate cultural sobre la civilización en América Latina y España durante el siglo XIX. Ed. Kari Soriano Salkjeslvik. Frankfurt: Iberoamericana Vervuert (in press)
  • Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik: "'Lanchitas' (1877) de José María Roa Bárcena: realismo sacramental literario y el proceder de la religión." In: Sensibilidades conservadoras. El debate cultural sobre la civilización en América Latina y España durante el siglo XIX. Ed. Kari Soriano Salkjeslvik. Frankfurt: Iberoamericana Vervuert (in press)