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María M. Portuondo – American Convergence: Science and Technology in Colonial Latin America

March 28, 2018, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Speaker: María M. Portuondo, Department Chair and Associate Professor of History of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University

The essential backdrop of the history of the region we now call Latin America is the centuries-long process of negotiation between the different social, religious, cultural and political registers of the Indigenous, African and European peoples who came to inhabit the area. The resulting American scientific and technological convergence involved the combination and recombination of practices whose exact origins are difficult to trace. As in any other period of scientific and technological change, the solutions that emerged were driven by intellectual traditions, market demands, labor availability and economic paradigms. Yet in the case of the Americas, these solutions were often an amalgam of the knowledge, skills, traditions and expertise of the different cultural groups that came together, willingly or unwillingly, to the shores of the American continent. This talk proposes a framework for the study of the scientific and technological registers of the American convergence. It recognizes the hybrid, complex and local nature of the convergence and explores these through three kinds of human activities: learning, moving and making.

This event is free and open to the public.
This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.

Sponsoring Organizations:
New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Columbia University in the City of New York
City University of New York
The New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Medicine


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