Keynote Speakers

PILAS 2017 Keynote Lectures


Professor Eduardo Posada-Carbó

Professor of the History and Politics of Latin America at the University of Oxford

Latin America and the Rise of Global Populism: History and Misconceptions.


Professor Julio Ortega

Professor of Hispanic Studies at Brown University

Atahualpa and Pizarro: The Des-Encounter revisited


Professor Manuel Barcia

Professor of Latin American History at the University of Leeds

‘The pirates, the judge and the Amistad trial’; or how the Panda slavers may have determined the fate of the Amistad Africans.

On 11 November 1834 Catalonian slave trader and presumed pirate, Pedro Gibert walked into a Boston courtroom, presided by Supreme Justice Joseph Story. With him were 11 of his shipmates, ready to face a trial by jury that would seal their fates. Gibert and the crew of his ship, the Spanish schooner Panda, had been accused of attacking the American merchant vessel Mexican, while on its way from Salem to Rio de Janeiro in 1832, and of abusing the American sailors, stealing all their belongings, and attempting to sink the ship into the depths of the Atlantic ocean, once their piratical looting was over. After only a few days, the trial came to an end and Gibert and five of his shipmates were sentenced to death. Within a few months, all but one had been hanged.

Although at first sight The United States v. Pedro Gibert is just another colourful case among the many involving slave traders and slave owners to be considered at United States courts during the first half of the nineteenth century, its legacy may have been greater than what we have assumed until now. As a matter of fact, this trial may have influenced the outcome of another cause célèbre, that of the 1839 African slave revolt occurred on the Spanish schooner Amistad, brought to trial in nearby New Haven only a few years later, and where Justice Story was to play, again, a central role. Issues of property and identity discussed during the trial of Gibert and his shipmates weighted heavily on the outcome of the trial against the African slaves of the Amistad a few years later.

The strong links between these two cases also highlight the pressing need for scholars of slavery and the slave in Latin America and the Caribbean, to consider the subjects and events they examine within a wider transatlantic framework of research that also includes North America, Europe and Africa. Ultimately, the stories of the Panda and the Amistad constitute timely reminders that during the first decades of the nineteenth century, Latin America and the Caribbean were already part of much larger colonial and capitalist systems that expanded across the Atlantic and beyond.

Roundtable Discussion


New Directions in Latin American Studies

Members of the Network for Hispanic and Lusophone Cultural Studies will discuss the future of Latin American Studies and fields for further development.

Discussants include: Dr Thea Pitman (contemporary Latin American cultural production, especially digital culture), Professor Stephanie Dennison (Brazilian film culture and the broader context of World Cinema), Professor Richard Cleminson (Labour movements, medicine and sexuality), Dr Paul Melo e Castro (Lusophone literature, film and visual culture), and Dr Rebecca Jarman (eco-catastrophe and protest in contemporary film and literature).

The Network for Hispanic and Lusophone Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds brings together colleagues focusing on a wide range of different forms of cultural production –from literature and theatre, to popular music, cinema, photography and new media– from across the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. It hosts both academic conferences and symposia as well as events designed to showcase the culture of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds to the general public.

Masterclass and documentary screening


Patricia Simón

Journalist. Professional Women in Media Spanish Association Prize Winner.

The Strength of the Little Ones. Screening of the documentary and masterclass.

As journalists we have the enormous responsibility of documenting History at the very moment when the events are taking place. To do so, we must understand that our news reports and documentaries may be a source of documentation for academic research, historians and expert reports in legal proceedings.

“History is not, as the textbooks would have us believe, a discontinuous series of dates, treaties and spectacular and stunning battles […] if bearing History (not accepting it: bearing it) is making it, then the washed-out existence of an old woman is History itself, the matter of which History is made of… Provided that we understand it…”

Claude Simon, The Grass, 1958

And it is the story of that same old woman that must be reflected in the journalism that I opt for in my reports and documentaries. I want to document the social History, the one that is built by citizens every day, the one that seeds and reproduces life as opposed to the one that destroys life and is presented in the big headlines and goes down in History books. But at the same time, I don’t want to reduce it to a figure of suffering, misery and destruction, but illustrate it with historical, social, economic, cultural and legal contexts that incorporates it into more global phenomena that explain the consequences of specific policies and actions.

Watch the trailer of La Fuerza de los Pequeños [Spanish] (Directed by Patricia Simón).

In collaboration with: MA Audiovisual Translation Studies, Centre for Translation Studies, University of Leeds and Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds.

Free to attend, but registration is required. (PILAS Conference delegates do not need to register)

Eventbrite - 'The Strength of the Little Ones' a documentary by Patricia Simón

Book presentation

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Historiografía del Porfiriato. Diversas interpretaciones en torno a un polémico asunto (Universidad Anáhuac)

Prof Paul Garner & Dr Carlos de Jesús Becerril (ed.)

Presented by Prof Manuel Barcia.

This book is the product of the course on the doctoral programme in History wich professor Paul Garner gave at the Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José Maria Luis Mora in 2012 at Mexico City, and is based upon a selection of the final essays written by students on the course.

The purpose of this work is to present an interdisciplinary perspective on the historiography of the Porfiriato. The text brings together the work of different researchers whose work outstrips the task traditionally assigned to historians.

The book is composed of nine chapters. En busca de vetas. Del balance global a la historiografía minera de la segunda mitad del siglo XIX. Un análisis en dos cortes by Omar Velasco Herrera; 2. Las finanzas públicas del porfiriato. Una revisión histiográfica, 1920-2014 by María del Ángel Molina Armenta; 3. “Poca política y mucha administración”. Historiografía jurídica del porfiriato. Un acercamiento by Carlos de Jesús Becerril Hernández; 4. La presencia cubana en el México porfirista by Laura Beatriz Moreno Rodríguez; 5. Historiografía e historia de la mujer durante el porfiriato. Un campo fértil para la reflexión entre el “deber ser femenino” y la legislación familiar by Dolores Gabriela Armendáriz Romero; 6. Historiografía sobre el catolicismo social en México durante el porfiriato by Austreberto Martínez Villegas; 7. Una revisión historiográfica del triunvirato sonorense durante el porfiriato by Miguel Ángel Grijalva Dávila; 8. Estrategias de capital. O de cómo las empresas de electricidad hicieron negocio de la Ciudad de México, 1881-1921 by Andrés García Lázaro; 9. Liberalismo en pugna durante los últimos años del régimen de Díaz. La postura de Emilio Rabasa y Toribio Esquivel Obregón by Abraham Chimal Escamilla.