Imaginaries of Connectivity: From the Invention of America to the Transpacific Indies, A Talk with Prof. Ricardo Padrón

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In this talk, Prof. Ricardo Padrón challenges established narratives about the sixteenth-century invention of America as a continent separate from Asia, tracing the various ways in which the European geographical imagination attempted to keep the New World connected to Asia for reasons that were at times intellectual, and at other times political. He challenges us to consider maps that are often neglected by historians who are eager to identify a quick paradigm shift in early modern world making, and to reconsider maps that we think we already understand. In so doing, he outlines ways of interpreting maps for their imaginaries of connectivity rather than of separation.

Ricardo Padrón is an Associate Professor of Spanish who studies the literature and culture of the early modern Hispanic world, particularly questions of empire, space, and cartography. Currently, he is completing a monograph about the transpacific imagination in sixteenth century Spanish imperialism. Provisionally entitled The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West, 1510-1610, the book will be published by the University of Chicago Press. His research for this book has taken him to China, Japan, and the Philippines.