Colloquium: An Approach to Early Nineteenth Century Latin American Dictators through Emotions

  • Date: Nov 14, 2017
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Moisés Prieto
  • Location: Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin
  • Room: Small Conference Room
  • Host: Center for the History of Emotions
  • Contact:

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially invites all interested to attend its winter semester 2017/2018 colloquium

Moisés Prieto, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

An Approach to Early Nineteenth Century Latin American Dictators through Emotions

Unlike post-Napoleonic Europe, Latin America became the cradle of many dictatorships already during the first half of the nineteenth century. After the independence from absolutist Spanish rule, many new nations placed their fates in the hands of dictators such as Simón Bolívar, Bernardo O’Higgins, José Gaspar de Francia or Antonio López de Santa Anna, at a time when this concept had no definitely negative connotation yet.

As Jürgen Osterhammel has pointed out, dictators lack the sanction by tradition, dynastic legitimacy or religious consecration. In addition to this, one has to recall Max Weber’s Three Types of Legitimate Rule, since dictatorship belongs to the type of “charismatic authority”. These reflections raise the question on the compensation of these shortcomings and the construction of dictatorial charisma by means of emotions. Moisés Prieto argues that emotions did not only play a relevant role in the genesis of the ruler’s glorious image but also in discrediting him.

Europe got acquainted with José Gaspar de Francia (1766-1840), Supreme Dictator of Paraguay, and Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793-1877), Governor of Buenos Aires, through travel reports, newspapers, political essays and novels. The talk focusses on the emotions (fear, hope, empathy etc) mobilised in different (mainly European) accounts about these two dictators and for different purposes.

Moisés Prieto studied history and Romance languages at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). In 2013 he finished his PhD in history with a thesis on the Swiss media perception of the late Franco regime and the Spanish democratisation process (published in 2015 by Böhlau). His research interests include media history, microhistory, historical semantics, the history of emotions, of migration and of authoritarian systems. He is co-author of the book Tele-revista y la Transición (Iberoamericana/Vervuert 2015) on a Swiss TV broadcast for Spanish immigrants. From 2014 until end of 2015, he was an academic visitor at St Antony’s College (University of Oxford) with a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. An Alexander von Humboldt research fellow since 2016, he is now working at the Humboldt-Universität and at the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut in Berlin on the narratives of dictatorship during the first half of the long nineteenth century.

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