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Fellow 2022-2023PAOLO VIGNOLO

Term: 02/2023 – 07/2023

Paolo Vignolo is an associate professor of history and humanities at the National University of Colombia, Bogota. He holds a PhD in history at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (E.H.E.S.S.) of Paris. His fields of research and creation deal with public history, cultural heritage and memory studies with a focus on geographic imaginaries, live arts and performance. He is an associate researcher at the Centre of Historical, Anthropological and Cultural Research –CIHAC of Panama, and was visiting scholar of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University in 2013. He is also a member of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics of the New York University, the Transformative Memory Network of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and the “Collective memory and practices of resistance” work group of The Latin American Council of Social Sciences – CLACSO.  



1) Map of Revelation. Sacrifice and Conversion in the Planisphere of Juan de la Cosa. In: Sacrifice and Conversion between Europe and the New World, (Maria Berbara ed.) Harvard University Center of Renaissance Studies Villa I Tatti, Firenze: Harvard University Press, 2022.
2) Museos, Historia, Memoria. José Fernando Rubio and Paolo Vignolo (editors). Bogota: Museo Nacional de Colombia, 2017.
3) A Place for the Dead in the City of the Living: the Central Cemetery of Bogota. In: Reflections on Memory and Democracy. Marileen S. Grindle ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016.
4) Festive Devils of the Americas. Milla Cozart Riggio, Angela Marino and Paolo Vignolo (eds). London, New York, Calcutta: Seagull, 2015.
5) Tierra Firme. El Darién en el imaginario de los conquistadores. Vignolo, Paolo and Becerra Virgilio. (eds.) Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia - ICANH, 2011.
6) Cannibali, giganti e selvaggi. Creature mostruose del Nuovo Mondo. Milano: Mondadori, 2009.

Geopolitics of Apocalypses and Utopia: Millenarian Imaginaries of the Conquest of Darien

Santa Maria la Antigua of Darien (1510-1525) was the first city founded by the Spanish crown in the continental landmark of the New World, and a turning point in the history of the conquest of the Americas.  Millenarian visions, discourses, and practices played a crucial role in the conquest, both as colonial strategies and tactics of resistance. In the Darien region, at the border between Colombia and Panama, conquest is a past that hasn’t passed yet. What are the geopolitical implications today of conceiving the conquest of Darien in apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic terms? 
Guna, Embera, Afro-descendent, campesino and settler communities have all been taking part in a 15 years-long participatory research-action process leading to the creation of the historical-archeological Park of Santa Maria la Antigua of Darien. The creation of this park is being done from a decolonized, community-oriented perspective concerned with gender issues. This proposal aims to keep on working with them on issues of public history, historical memory and culture heritage related to (post-)apocalyptic scenarios. 
My research deals with the spatial dimension of the end of times. Focusing on the geographical space of Darien, I pursue “mapping” millenarian imaginaries in order to let geopolitics emerge in terms of territorial conflicts, land disputes and cartographic strategies. This spatial turn allows me to underscore complex temporalities and non-lineal narratives when comparing different cosmologies. 

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