Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, History, Princeton University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2018
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Princeton University
Information Networks in the Colonial Andes: Publishing, Reading, and Regulating, 1738-1824

My project traverses the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Río de la Plata, northwest to Sucre, Bolivia, and descends to the coast of Lima to examine the production, supply, demand, and circulation of information from the last half of the eighteenth century to the first decades of Latin American independence. My project makes information visible: it follows its production through printing presses, its exchange across commercial routes, and its final consumption and interpretation. These systems of knowledge exchange are what I call information regimes. They include markets, networks, and institutions with a stake in the circulation of knowledge. I will reconstruct the information regime of the Bourbon period (eighteenth century Spanish rule), based largely on the book trade and embedded in de-centralized commercial exchange. The Andes boasted printing presses, extensive libraries, and prestigious universities, where a rich culture of book consumption had developed over the colonial period. The materiality of books, and heightened crown censorship and efforts to control circulation, make them a kind of tracking device to reveal how local information networks functioned within a shifting and increasingly interconnected Atlantic marketplace. Following their licit and illicit flow back and forth over the Andes, from the River Plate to Lima, also opens trails for understanding how imperial systems connected the Atlantic to the Pacific. I will then seek to answer whether and how the explosion of a new media, periodicals, and social and political reorganization during and after independence movements created diverging information regimes. Extending my research beyond the eruption of newspapers in the region, I will identify whether this new medium latched on to the established communication networks of the book trade, or if entirely different actors, whose information demands deviated from their predecessors, helped forge new centers and peripheries.