Novelty and the Emergence of the Modern Global in the Early Sixteenth Century

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic

Luis Lobo-Guerrero - Speaker

    Novelty disrupts order. Because of its disrupting character, it exposes the fallibility of pre-existing ways of knowing, thinking, and being. It betrays the operation of particular ways of experiencing the world that are always imbued with specific forms of power relations, forms of subjectivity, and systems of rule. Observing novelty and the ways in which it emerges, always in precise historical moments, allows for an understanding of the conditions under which something is deemed possible and real. Its usefulness transcends the anecdotic and relates to the possibility of introducing new ways of labelling the outcome of experience, of creating new narratives and grammars for describing what had not yet been encountered or thought, of reflecting about a real without recourse to the strictures of theory and dogma, of creating new markets for ideas and products, and, as explored through this book, of creating spaces of governance.

    This lecture engages with a very particular moment in the history of a Western experience of knowing life, space, and governance. It explores claims to novelty in XVI C. Spain in the context of the Columbian trips of discovery and the early conquest of America. It does so by exploring the seminal contribution made by José Antonio Maravall, a Spanish historian of culture and mentalities, to the understanding of the problem of novelty through what he considers to be its three conditions of possibility: i) the pretension of originality, ii) the interest for the invention, and iii) the curiosity for the strange.

    External organisation

    NameUniv Cambridge, University of Cambridge
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