Search for European Projects

"Enlightenment on America, America on Enlightenment: historical writing in debate and the shaping of eurocentrism at the end of the Eighteenth century" (AMEN)
Start date: Sep 1, 2008, End date: Aug 31, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"""Enlightenment on America, America on Enlightenment"" (AMEN) will investigate how the dispute about the New World in the 1770-80s addressed both the construction of a European consciousness and the attempt to provincialize Europe, as a first result of the crisis of the European (Spanish and British) Empires. I propose a dual track enquiry, focusing on the confrontation between the ""History of America"" (1777) by W. Robertson – Scottish historian of the strongest and richest existing European empire– and the ""Storia antica del Messico"" (1780-1) by F.S. Clavigero – Mexican Creole and disbanded Jesuit, exiled to Europe. Both raise important and problematic issues, which yield two alternative, competing conceptions of history and mankind. The analysis of these texts will constitute the first step toward a more general interpretation of eurocentrism, within the framework either of Enlightenment or of Christian universalism. As a further step, I intend to reconstruct Clavigero's reception in Europe. Like many other Creole Jesuits arriving in Europe after the expulsion of the order from Spanish and Portuguese Empires, and in a manner comparable to northern American writers like Jefferson, Clavigero provides another vision of the New World, conceptualizing Mexico’s glorious antiquities as European thinkers hark back to the ancient Roman and Greek heritage for the region of Europe. In Scotland, Clavigero's History, translated into English in 1787, had a strong impact, becoming the main source of the entry ""America"" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which constitutes the most important attempt in the British context to summarize existing knowledge about the world and its history. The comparative perspective provided by the Clavigero-Robertson debate aims to highlight two universal histories dominated by Europe. But their diverging Eurocentric conceptions of mankind offer a new vision of the world with Europe representing just one of different and competing provinces."
Up2Europe Ads