The Research Project Europe 1815-1914

P.O. Box 24
Unioninkatu 40
FI-00014 University of Helsinki




The programme is continuously updated. New events might be advertised with short notice. External participants are welcome but preferably on a regular basis. Since the number of seats is limited pre-registration with project coordinator Minna Vainio (erere-info[at] is requested.

April 2012
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17 April

"History, experience and modernity in México, 1750-1850" by Guillermo Zermeno, Colmex

Inspired on by the historical theoretical approach of Reinhart Koselleck, the presentation examined if in Mexico "history" was experienced as "modern". The new experience of modernity there was distinguished by disarticulating and reconfiguring the classical relations of temporality. Essentially, the answer to the question was positive, albeit there were overlapping and far from uniform developments, especially comparing the former European imperial centers with the new American nations.

The presentation by Zermeno and the discussion of it was followed by the discussion of a work in progress report by Francisco Ortega:"The Writing of History and social diversity in the Great Colombia, 1820-1840"

EReRe members gathered for a double session seminar focusing on the uses of history in the Iber-American world in the nineteenth century. During the first hour, guest speaker Guillermo Zermeño Padilla, professor at the Colegio de México in Mexico City and current Visiting Professor at the University of Santander in Spain, spoke about the relation between experience and modernity in Spanish America through a conceptual analysis of the concept of History. Based on a comparative study of the semantic transformations of the concept of history in nine Ibero-American countries between 1750 and 1850, Zermeño argued that the conceptual conditions that gave way to the experience of modernity in Western Europe –and that resulted in a dismantling and reshaping of classical relations of temporality-- can be detected in the Iberian-Atlantic. If the Ibero-American world can therefore be understood as being part of the transformations of political modernity, how then should we understand its relation with democratic institutions and stability?

During the second hour EReRe researcher Francisco Ortega presented a chapter of his monograph, provisionally titled "Born of the Same Womb, Different in Origin and Blood: Social Fragmentation and the Making of the Gran Colombian Republics 1770-1870." Ortega's presentation explored the emergence of a discourse on "our Muisca antiquities" in mid nineteenth century New Granada as an important language by which white Creoles appropriated indigenous Chibcha pasts and incorporated it into the making of a national identity. This appropriation took place at the very same time that liberal legislation dismantled Muisca indigenous communal lands and thus deliberately contributed to the dispersal of indigenous communities and the forgetting of indigenous traditions and identity.

Venue: Tieteiden Talo, room 313