Scholarship and the Making of Politics in Early Modern Empires: The Iberian Routes of the Republic of Letters


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project explores how early modern scholarship contributed to the foundation of modern state politics between the late Renaissance and the Enlightenment. From the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth century, scholars devised, through a broad social spectrum of learned collaborations, new forms of expertise and institutions specialized in the transnational communication of political information. This project is a social history of ideas that builds on political theory, intellectual history, and the study of libraries, paperwork, and information. It seeks to incorporate the history of both the Spanish and Portuguese Empires into the larger history of the “Republic of Letters” by examining the interconnected configuration of polycentric state information systems and early modern communities of knowledge.