Specters of the Popular in Nineteenth-Century Latin American Visual Culture


LAC Burkhardt


Hispanic Studies


For residence at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington during academic year 2019-2020


This project investigates how popular subjects saw and were seen in nineteenth-century Latin America. This question is fundamentally political, because the emergence of a modern visual culture coincided with the protracted disputes to establish stable republican governments throughout the region. Building on recent scholarship that emphasizes the participation of ordinary people in these processes, “Specters of the Popular” examines the production, transmission, and reception of images in a transnational context. It argues that new technologies, including lithography, photography, and the first motion pictures, helped conceive of an immediate bond linking the pueblo, or people, to sovereign power. The study of visual culture, in other words, makes visible the emergence of a modern political form that would later come to be known as “populism.”