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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History
Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra

Contact

Biography

Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra is the Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. Cañizares-Esguerra got his PhD at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  Before UT, he taught at Illinois State University and SUNY-Buffalo. He has also been a visiting professor in several universities outside the United States, including the Universidade Federal do Ouro Preto (Mariana- Brazil); the Universidade Etaduale de Campinas (Campinas-Brazil); the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá-Colombia); the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota-Colombia); the FLACSO (Quito-Ecuador);the Universidad de los Andes (Santiago-Chile)

Cañizares-Esguerra has won numerous national fellowships given by the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment of the Humanities (at the John Carter Brown Library), the Andrew Mellon (at the Huntington Library), the Charles Warren Center of Studies of American History (at Harvard); the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; and the Donald D. Harrington Fellows Program (at the University of Texas). In 2010 Canizares-Esguerra was the Andrew Mellon Senior Fellow of the John Carter Brown Library.

Cañizares-Esguerra has received numerous prizes, including the 1999-2001 best article award from the Forum in the History of the Human Sciences of the History of Science Society; the 2001 AHA prize on Atlantic History; the 2001 AHA prize in Latin American and Spanish History; and the 2006-2007 biannual Honorable Mention of the Murdo MacLeod Book Prize of The Latin American and Caribbean Section of the Southern Historical Association. His How to Write the History of the New World was cited among the best books of the year (2001) by The Economist. It also made into the “best book of the year” lists of  TLS and the Independent (London). 

Cañizares-Esguerra is member of several journal editorial boards, including Atlantic Studies, The Hispanic American Historical Review,  the Journal of Early Modern History; Memoria y Sociedad, and Tierra Brasilensis

He is the author of more than 60 journal articles and book chapters. He has also authored  several books: How to Write the History of the New World (Stanford 2001--translated into Spanish and Portuguese); Puritan Conquistadors (Stanford 2006; translated into Spanish); Nature, Empire, and Nation (Stanford 2007); The Atlantic in Global History, 1500-2000 (co-edited, with Erik Seeman), and The Black Urban Atlantic in the Age of the Slave Trade (co-edited with Jim Sidbury and Matt Childs). He is currently writing a book entitled Bible and Empire: The Old Testament in the Spanish Monarchy, from Columbus to the Wars of Independence.

Interests

Early Modern Atlantic History | History of Science and Colonialism | History of Knowledge | Colonial Spanish and British America

R S 392T • Religion In The Atlantic World

44415 • Fall 2013
Meets M 200pm-500pm UTC 4.120
(also listed as HIS 383M, LAS 386 )
show description

This seminar focuses on religious ideas that configured the slave trade and slavery in the early modern Atlantic. Will focus on religious ideologies of slavery and the religious experience of the enslaved in several geographical and cultural settings: urban, rural, Africa, Europe, America. This course covers literature on the various Atlantics: British, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, Dahomeyan, Luandan, Fante, to name only the most representative.

Requirements:Students will write weekly reviews of readings and a final prospectus (a research proposal) 

R S 366 • Bible In Colonial Americas

43945 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 900am-1000am GAR 1.126
(also listed as CTI 375, HIS 363K, LAS 366 )
show description

 

From the moment Columbus first landed in America to the time Spain, Britain, and France lost control of their kingdoms in the New World, the Old Testament shaped the cultures of their empires. The Book of Samuel taught kings, priests, and the people the contested foundations of monarchical authority and popular sovereignty. While priests sought to recapitulate the lives of Aaron, Elijah and Jonah, magistrates aspired to be like Moses and Joshua.  Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers served out lessons on territorial expansion and colonization and the proper way to design the arks and tabernacles that were local temples. By looking at the history of the Old Testament in these Atlantic empires unusual perspectives emerge: Blacks in late eighteenth century British America created exodus narratives and saw their communities as elect, modern Israels seeking migration to a Promised Land in Sierra Leone;  Indians in Peru presented the silver mines of Potosi (and therefore their labor in the mines) as the “pillars” of the temple of Jerusalem and, therefore, of the Spanish Monarchy; Christian Ascetics sought to become African slaves of the Lord as their individual wills made metaphorical and actual use of the instruments of slavery to control the urges of their bodies; nuns set up cities of God and saw themselves as fully enfranchised citizens of republics, Israelite heroines like Deborah, Judith, and Jael,  wielding swords against powerful occult enemies.

This seminar exposes students to a variety of perspectives on the central role played by the Old Testament in the construction of colonial cultures in the Americas.

Class will be conducted like an experimental workshop. In class, students will be asked to work individually or in groups and answer questions about assignments. To work students need to bring laptops and be connected on line. Assigned readings and images will posted on blackboard.

Grades will be based on two exams and several small assignments.

R S 392T • Atlantic History

43839 • Fall 2012
Meets T 330pm-630pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as HIS 383M, LAS 386 )
show description

Sor María de Jesús de Agreda was one the most powerful women of the seventeenth century. While deep in prayer in her monastery in Madrid, she would appear in Texas as the ‘lady in blue’, helping Franciscans convert the natives. More important she acted as a confessor to Philip IV, prompting the king to abolish Indian slavery in the borderlands while spreading the cult of the Immaculate Conception. Agreda was one of the most influential theorists of her century, completing eight stout volumes on the life of Mary. Like much else with the intellectual life of the Spanish Monarchy, her views have been forgotten or cavalierly dismissed. Yet at the time, she shaped countless lives and spaces; her views mutated into places of memory, what are now peculiar shrines to Angels and Virgin Maries scattered all over the world. This is not a seminar on Agreda herself, but on the conceptual categories of time, space, and power that made her views possible and influential worldwide.

Early modern categories of time are alien to us. In the Christian Atlantic, from Angola to Brazil to Boston, time was understood “typologically”, as a fulfillment of events already prefigured in the Old and New Testaments and in the Book of Nature. The learned studied parallel structures in the lives of both societies and individuals and could also predict likely futures. The power of prophecy therefore lay in the correct interpretation of the past: St John of Patmos’ Book of Revelation only made sense in light of the past history of humanity. Space had also structures. Temples, altars, and shrines are what are left of these views in the Catholic world. The Trinity, for example, was not a theological abstraction but a reflection of spatial and power relations on earth. It was also a commentary on the evolution of time: ranging from societies first held by the power of the Law (God Father) to societies then held by Grace (Christ) lastly to societies enjoying growing spiritual illumination (Holy Spirit). In the Spanish Monarchy a tradition developed that saw the growing manifestation of the Spirit through Mary (and through the work of mendicant, apostolic religious orders like the Franciscans and Jesuits). The history of Mary, her apparitions, and her images constituted therefore the history of the Church itself. Mary became just as powerful as Christ in the Trinity. She made herself available through sacred images that were as holy as the body of Christ in the Eucharist. She also was the prime minister of heaven, presiding over ambassadors, the archangels, as the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. She constituted the ideal political ruler.

This is a seminar designed to recover what are now peculiar structures of time, space, and power (both political and gendered) but that once understood transform our interpretation of extant sources such as sermons, hagiographies, church spaces, paintings, chronicles, and more. These were widespread cultural ideas shared by the learned, slaves, Indians, and women, who through the display of  images and their weekly exegesis in sermons formed a community of interpretation. This seminar is therefore also reconceptualization of the meaning of “literacy”.We will read secondary sources on prophecy, apocalypse, Mary, angels, the early modern body, sacred architecture, etc. We will also read primary written document (sermons, hagiographies) and objects (images and churches). Students will write a final paper interpreting the temporal and spatial meanings of an altar, shrine, or temple anywhere in the colonial Americas.

R S 366 • The Bible In Colonial Americas

43653 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am GAR 1.126
(also listed as CTI 375, HIS 363K )
show description

Are you aware that Christopher Columbus wrote a book of prophecies?  Yes, Columbus perused the Bible and identified passages that prefigured his own providential mission in the New World.  He liked to call attention to the prefigurative symbolism of his own name, for “Colomba” in Latin means dove (Holy Spirit) and “Christopher,”  Christum-ferens,  carrier of Christ. To see Columbus as a self-serving biblical scholar is jarring but much closer to the truth than to consider him swashbuckling, romantic adventurer.

One set of lectures, for example, will explore the traditions of political philosophy that established Moses, Aaron, and Joshua as models of rulership. Monarchs, popes, and magistrates drew on Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers to figure out the proper role of  (and balance between) civil and religious authorities as well as to discern policies of territorial expansion and colonization.  These sources also became blueprints to design churches and temples as Arks, Tabernacles, and Arks of Noah.

On the same vein, other lectures will discuss the early-modern literature on the Kings of Judah and Israel. The tale of the election of Saul by God, Samuel, and the Israelite, for example, spawned a huge body of commentary on the nature of monarchical power. One tradition (from John Milton to Tom Paine) emphasized God’s opposition to the election of Kings. In the Spanish Monarchy, however, these same texts created among the colonists a discourse that for kings to be legitimate they had to be elected by the “people,” not only God and the Church. Native American intellectuals in Peru, on the other hand, created a powerful critique of colonial rule with these same texts. Hammered out by a vast network of native lords ranging from Lima to Rome, this critique demanded that native nobilities be appointed friars, bishops, and viceroys. The critique cast the Spanish as evil Jews who hated Christ and Christians (the natives). The movement was initiated in the 1700 and culminated in the 1780s with the great uprisings of Tupac Amaru and Tupac Katari in Peru and Bolivia. Same texts, different results.

It should be clear that the Bible hovered over every development in the colonial New World like a ghost. Cities, churches, missions, labor institutions, treatises, and even constitutions were created with the Bible always in mind. This course explores the Biblical roots of the religious and political traditions, architecture and material culture of the various Americas of our forgotten colonial past.

Texts

Students will read primary sources, including sections of the Old and New Testaments and Columbus’ Book of Prophecies.

Grading

Mid term: 30 %

Final 30 %

1 Reading Report 20 %

2 Reading Report: 20 %

R S 392T • The Bible: Early Mod Atlantic

43693 • Fall 2011
Meets T 330pm-630pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as HIS 383M )
show description

From the moment Columbus first landed in America to the time Spain, Britain, and France lost control of their kingdoms in the New World, the Old Testament shaped the cultures of their empires. The Book of Samuel taught kings, priests, and the people the contested foundations of monarchical authority and popular sovereignty. While priests sought to recapitulate the lives of Aaron, Elijah and Jonah, magistrates aspired to be like Moses and Joshua.  Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers served out lessons on territorial expansion and colonization and the proper way to design the arks and tabernacles that were local temples. By looking at the history of the Old Testament in these Atlantic empires unusual perspectives emerge: Blacks in late eighteenth century British America created exodus narratives and saw their communities as elect, modern Israels seeking migration to a Promised Land in Sierra Leone;  Indians in Peru presented the silver mines of Potosi as the “pillars” of the temple of Jerusalem and, therefore, of the Spanish Monarchy; Christian Ascetics sought to become African slaves of the Lord as their individual wills made metaphorical and actual use of the instruments of slavery to control the urges of their bodies; nuns set up Cities of God in their convents and saw themselves as fully enfranchised citizens of their republics: Israelite heroines (like Deborah, Judith, and Jael) wielding swords against powerful occult enemies. In addition to a few secondary readings, we will assign every week sets of primary sources to discuss. 

R S 366 • The Bible In Colonial Americas

44351 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm UTC 1.104
(also listed as HIS 363K )
show description

Are you aware that Christopher Columbus wrote a book of prophecies?  Yes, Columbus perused the Bible and identified passages that prefigured his own providential mission in the New World.  He liked to call attention to the prefigurative symbolism of his own name, for “Colomba” in Latin means dove (Holy Spirit) and “Christopher,”  Christum-ferens,  carrier of Christ. To see Columbus as a self-serving biblical scholar is jarring but much closer to the truth than to consider him swashbuckling, romantic adventurer.

 

One set of lectures, for example, will explore the traditions of political philosophy that established Moses, Aaron, and Joshua as models of rulership. Monarchs, popes, and magistrates drew on Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers to figure out the proper role of  (and balance between) civil and religious authorities as well as to discern policies of territorial expansion and colonization.  These sources also became blueprints to design churches and temples as Arks, Tabernacles, and Arks of Noah.

 

On the same vein, other lectures will discuss the early-modern literature on the Kings of Judah and Israel. The tale of the election of Saul by God, Samuel, and the Israelite, for example, spawned a huge body of commentary on the nature of monarchical power. One tradition (from John Milton to Tom Paine) emphasized God’s opposition to the election of Kings. In the Spanish Monarchy, however, these same texts created among the colonists a discourse that for kings to be legitimate they had to be elected by the “people,” not only God and the Church. Native American intellectuals in Peru, on the other hand, created a powerful critique of colonial rule with these same texts. Hammered out by a vast network of native lords ranging from Lima to Rome, this critique demanded that native nobilities be appointed friars, bishops, and viceroys. The critique cast the Spanish as evil Jews who hated Christ and Christians (the natives). The movement was initiated in the 1700 and culminated in the 1780s with the great uprisings of Tupac Amaru and Tupac Katari in Peru and Bolivia. Same texts, different results.

It should be clear that the Bible hovered over every development in the colonial New World like a ghost. Cities, churches, missions, labor institutions, treatises, and even constitutions were created with the Bible always in mind. This course explores the Biblical roots of the religious and political traditions, architecture and material culture of the various Americas of our forgotten colonial past.

Texts

Students will read primary sources, including sections of the Old and New Testaments and Columbus’ Book of Prophecies.

Grading

Mid term: 30 %

Final 30 %

1 Reading Report 20 %

2 Reading Report: 20 %

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