Call for Submissions: The City in the Early Modern Spanish World
This is an open call for submissions for an interdisciplinary, edited volume on the city or town in the early modern Spanish World (c. 1492 to 1800) for an academic press. We seek submissions from Art Historians, Architectural Historians, Anthropologists, Geographers, Historians, Classicists, Literary Scholars, and scholars in related fields who approach the centrality of the city or town in this broad context from the perspectives of its conceptualization, founding, function, construction, reception, and/or lived experience.
The early modern Spanish world saw an abrupt increase in town and city founding throughout the Iberian Peninsula and in Spain’s colonial territories overseas in the Americas and Asia. New towns became instrumental for the consolidation of territory and imperial formulation and expansion. Conceived through a combination of rational surveying, appropriation of architectural treatises, practical discrimination, ideological promotion, and ritual enactment, significant differences appear between towns and cities founded in Iberia and those of the American colonies. Such variations seem to have arisen from the topological, demographic, and cultural conditions of place, among others. The town reshaped the subjectivity of royal subjects, whether in Spain or the overseas colonies. As sixteenth- and seventeenth-century town founding assisted the project of Spanish empire building and colonization, eighteenth-century urban renewal and the building of new towns served these objectives as well as the project of “enlightened” reform. No less central to the broader effort of promoting Christian civilization, such towns bore perhaps expanded functions interrelated with shifts in monarchical agendas and imperial subjectivity. The formation and reformation these towns or cities may indeed have been directed in part by residents of the colonial municipalities as by royal officials sent to oversee them.
The French Bourbon dynasty, ascending the Spanish throne in 1700, implemented a wide range of governmental, military, and fiscal reforms, converting urban landscapes to bear classicizing aesthetics and constructing or repairing city halls, jails, bridges, roads, fountains, aqueducts, granaries, slaughterhouses, parks, royal mints, custom houses, and fortifications. Such works not only improved the city’s myriad functions, but also introduced a more rationalized idea of typology and became important objects of discourse for civic elites, municipal authorities, and royal officials. In addition, foreign and local artists and intellectuals in the early modern era contributed to the representation of the urban landscape of the Spanish Empire through written descriptions and visual representations depicting both entire cities and selected public spaces. These histories and portraits of cities allow us to examine, among other things, the history of cartography and chorography, ideologies involved in the aesthetic representation of cities, and evolving ideas about architecture and urban planning in the early modern Spanish world.
We are interested in essays on the following topics:
1. The conceptualization and building of a town, the relationships between narrative, architecture, and urban form and the rituals and concepts of town founding.
2. The interplay between the town or city’s purpose and function: economic, social, and political situations; and the tensions between imperial narratives and local realities.
3. The interaction between European and American narratives of town founding in relation to the colonial body politic.
4. The formulation of the plaza and its role in the town.
5. The embellishment and shaping of urban centers.
6. The planning and building of civic architecture and public infrastructures.
7. The appropriation of civic features in the service of identity construction.
8. Interrelationships between local histories, municipal power, and civic identity.
9. The visual narration of the urban landscape through images and other forms of material culture.
10. The role of the municipality in the shaping and reshaping of subjectivity.
We seek contributions of 5000-6000 words and will consider previously published articles only if they have not appeared in English. Please email a 500-word proposal and CV by August 1, 2013 to Paul Niell, Ph.D. (art and architectural historian, Department of Art History, Florida State University), firstname.lastname@example.org and Luis J. Gordo-Peláez, Ph.D. (art and architectural historian, Department of Art History, University of Texas at Austin), email@example.com.
Luis J. Gordo Peláez
Department of Art and Art History
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
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