Bard Graduate Center Logo
  Banner Image

Juan Carlos Garzon Mantilla
BGC Fields of the Future Fellow
Columbia University

Whose Global History? The Pre-Columbian archive in Early Modern world-imagining

After the sixteenth-century European invasion of the Americas, the major western European treatises—such as Sacro Bosco’s de Sphera Mundi, a global cosmographical treatise, or the Nuremberg Liber Chronicarum, a world history—became outdated regional works that lacked information about the American landmasses and Indigenous human groups. The voids shown by these previously authoritative sources made new ideas urgently necessary. In this talk, BGC fellow Juan Carlos Mantilla explores how Indigenous and European scholars in the Early Modern Andes reimagined the history and cosmography of the world as an entity fully integrated through time and space by theorizing and comparatively reading a corpus that brought together non-written Pre-Columbian buildings, relics, mummies, fossils, monoliths, megaliths, mythical landscapes, and Indigenous narratives with ancient Biblical and Classical erudition. In doing so, this entangled archive became the cornerstone of further historical and cosmographical knowledge, demonstrating how the so-called New World was as ancient and full of history as the Old. The most challenging questions of Early Modern global history were solved with a pre-columbian archive.

Juan Carlos G Mantilla is an Ecuadorian PhD candidate at Columbia University in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society, and the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program. His research focuses on the cultural history of the early modern Americas. Bringing together literary studies, art history, archaeology, and sources in Romance, classical, and Indigenous languages, his doctoral project entitled “Repleta est Terra: World Landscapes and Chronologies of Early Modern Andean Historical Cosmography” studies how in the early modern period, Indigenous pre-Columbian material culture and narrative traditions transformed into sources for novel global cosmographical theories, world historical narratives, and scholarly innovations. In 2021, he was a doctoral fellow in Freie Universitat Berlin’s EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities,” and in 2022, a Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellow.

Tuesday, February 28, 12:15 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

Lunch will be served starting at noon. Registration required.

Register Button