Literary Emplacements: Chorography and Placemaking in the Early Modern Hispanic World

Pettinaroli, Elizabeth, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Padrón, Ricardo, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Gerli, Michael, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Weber, Alison, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Hill, Ruth, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia

This dissertation explores the literary articulation of place in the aftermath of conquest particularly through a re - examination of chorography, that overlooked genre dedicated to the description and praise of cities. Tracing chorography's complex articulations with an array of sixteenth -and seventeenth - century writings about the recently - conquered urban worlds of Granada and New Spain (and for the latter a renewed consideration of the role of the Orient), my project argues that the ostensibly discrete purviews of history and geography are in fact mutually constitutive categories shaping the literary elaboration of empire. Questioning received interpretive frameworks of ‘imperial hegemony' and the ‘erasure of the local', the dissertation examines how authors in the chorographic tradition engage in place - making. Exalting the local by drawing on diverse topographic, etymological, genealogical, historical, and other materials, these authors make and remake historical - geographical panoramas to articulate the local with new projects of empire. This study's interpretive framework brings into dialogue the theoretical concepts of "emplacement" (Edward Soja) and "emplotment" (Hayden White) to illuminate literary efforts to impose formal coherence upon disparate conquered worlds. The work explores a variety of literary genres and non - literary intertexts. It also reaches across the conventional division between Colonial Latin American and Golden Age Spanish studies, informed by a belief that the Hispanic world of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is best understood trans - geographically. Contextualizing chorography in relation to its inherited traditions and contemporary intertexts, the dissertation examines Peninsular and New World Works of Antiquities, Excellences, and "Grandezas" and local historiographies as a prelude to close examination of the chorographic elaborations of Granada and Mexico City by Gines Perez de Hita (Guerras Civiles de Granada) and Bernardo de Balbuena (La Grandeza Mexicana). Deploying an array of literary tools, each author seeks to insert a neWly - conquered place into a reimagined Spanish World. These Works, their sources, and their contexts, complicate the received notion of a monolithically hegemonic empire. In its place We glimpse something different: an emerging Spanish World Where the local is no mere cog in a vast imperial machine, but rather an active source of particular visions, projects, and contestations that influence the Whole.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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