Tue, May 09, 2017
12:15 – 14:00
Via Bolognese, 120
(Opened to NYU Students and Faculty only)
This paper demonstrates how Fray Servando Teresa de Mier pushes the limits of eighteenth-century discourses of creole identity by breaking with a loyalist attachment to Spanish imperium. By situating Mier’s political thought in the context of an alternative Enlightenment tradition—one that aims to reconcile Christian ethics with a republican political vocabulary—it demonstrates how his insurgent ideology is coterminous with a broader effort to transform the church into an instrument of statecraft in eighteenthcentury dynastic polities. It first traces the roots of his heterodox religious and political ideas to influential Catholic reformist circles in Europe—reformist circles that have until recently been forgotten or overlooked in the current historiography of the Enlightenment. It then considers how Mier establishes an insurgent narrative of national origins in his Historia de la Revolución de la Nueva España by examining how he interprets strategic moments in Mexico’s religious past as evidence of its national unity and cultural autonomy. Finally, it demonstrates how Mier informs the literary parameters of Simón Bólivar’s vision of continental independence by examining how his use of Christian and indigenous religious tropes prompts the Venezuelan revolutionary to imagine a Spanish American union of nations bound by a shared history of anti-colonial resistance.