NEH logo
[Return to Query]

Products for grant RZ-249862-16

RZ-249862-16
Amerasia: A Renaissance Discovery
Alexander Nagel, New York University

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=RZ-249862-16

Malleable Geographies in the First Global Age (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: Malleable Geographies in the First Global Age
Author: Alexander Nagel
Author: Elizabeth Horodowich
Abstract: The concepts of “Contact” and “Cultural Exchange” have been complicated by an increased interest in polyfocal geographical and cultural imaginaries: what comes into contact in the Age of Encounters are not identities or cultures with objective existences but, on every side, conceptions of the world and ways of being in it and the cultural techniques that organized such ideas and activities—ideas and activities that were themselves undergoing intensive and continual redefinition under the impact of the encounters. We invite papers that address the encounters of the Early Modern period as meetings of symbolic economies and modalities of representation. We invite specialists from multiple fields to lead us inside particular geographical and cultural imaginaries. Those who study European explorations might contend with open questions, such as: Were the Yucatan and California islands? How large was the Pacific and was it an ocean? Was Cathay near Ochelaga (Montreal)? Was Ophir located in newly discovered lands, and where? Did the Japanese wear feathers? Should Mixtec masks be classified with Asian artifacts in European collections? Did Native Americans use parasols, did dragonfruit grow in the New World, and were there elephants in Patagonia? And who were “Indians”? Asianists and New World scholars will have a corresponding series of questions posed from the point of view of their protagonists. In what ways were larger geographies and conceptions of other cultures applied and subject to change in this period? How did artists, writers, and cartographers, manage conflicting sources and their own preconceptions of the globe?
Date Range: March 31, 2017
Location: Renaissance Society of America Conference, Chicago

Amerasia: A Renaissance Discovery (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Amerasia: A Renaissance Discovery
Author: Alexander Nagel
Abstract: A presentation showing the mingling of American and Asian elements in European visual images and some related texts between 1492 and 1522.
Date: 3/31/2017
Conference Name: Renaissance Society of America Conference, Chicago, 2017

Amerasia in the European Imaginary in the First Global Age (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Amerasia in the European Imaginary in the First Global Age
Author: Elizabeth Horodowich
Author: Alexander Nagel
Abstract: A co-presented paper, this presentation examines examples of the mingling of American and Asia in the European imagination, in images, texts, maps, and collections of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Date: 4/28/2017
Primary URL: http://humanities.ucla.edu/event/making-worlds-art-materiality-early-modern-globalization/
Conference Name: Making Worlds: Art, Materiality, and Early Modern Globalization, UCLA, April 28-29. 2017

Asia in the European Imagination in the Early Modern Period (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: Asia in the European Imagination in the Early Modern Period
Abstract: What did Asia look like to early modern Europeans? Through a closer look at a variety of early modern European sources including printed texts, maps, Mesoamerican codices, and objects held in early modern European cabinets of curiosity, this panel explores some of the surprising and unpredictable ways that Europeans understood Asia in the century following the Columbian voyages. Copious European accounts depicted America as Asia by mapping both onto one “Amerasian” continent, where Mexico was India, North America was an extension of China, and South America was populated by a variety of biblical and Asian sites. “New Worlds” discovered to the East and West of Europe were understood to be convergent; as a result, European collectors sometimes labeled Mexican objects as Chinese, and as late as 1600, European missionaries believed they were baptizing the Indians of Asia. Other sources portrayed China as a superior civilization, but one that Europeans hoped to rival, intellectually and culturally. Far from simply portraying Asia as generically exotic or foreign, these papers explore the myriad and flexible ways that early modern Europeans employed representations of Asia: as a means of grappling with an expanding knowledge of global geography in the sixteenth century, and as a global standard of civilization to which Europeans could compare themselves. In the same period that Europe was coming into cultural self-definition, malleable representations of Asia helped Europeans to define their own global identity.
Date Range: March 25, 2018
Location: Association of Asian Studies Conference, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

The European "Discovery" of Amerasia: Casper Vopel's World Map (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The European "Discovery" of Amerasia: Casper Vopel's World Map
Author: ELizabeth Horodowich
Abstract: Most accounts of the Columbian voyages and the Age of Encounters describe Europeans’ initial confusion of America with Asia: a confusion that quickly gave way to the realization that America was a New World. According to this way of thinking, such confusion—for instance, the idea that Jamaica might be Java, or that Tenochtitlan might be Quinsay—has been seen as a momentary, if not quaint, misunderstanding. A wide variety of evidence however demonstrates that learned Europeans continued to represent the Americas as Asia up to and beyond 1600. Mercator, for instance, labeled the central valley of Mexico as “India” in his influential 1569 atlas, and the French explorer Jean Nicolet believed that when he and his fellow mariners crossed Lake Michigan in 1634, they would be greeted by the Great Khan of China on the other side. This paper will focus in particular on a 1558 world map by Casper Vopel, a map that depicted Asia and America as the same continent, and Cathay and Mexico as the same province. Ideas about “Amerasia” so regularly inhabited the minds of early modern Europeans; this paper will use Vopel’s map to explore how Amerasia functioned, culturally and intellectually and the claims it made; namely, how it served the needs of European imperialism, as well as how it it offered explanations about the universal and shared origins of humanity.
Date: 3/25/2018
Conference Name: Association of Asian Studies Conference

Objects of Amerasian Anthropology in Early Modern Europe (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Objects of Amerasian Anthropology in Early Modern Europe
Author: Alexander Nagel
Abstract: Field studies have had the effect of bringing modern cultural categories into the world of early modern European collecting and anthropology. The New World objects collected by, say, the Habsburgs or the Medici, are studied by Americanists, whereas the Asian objects in those collections are studied by specialists in those fields. Yet in the collections the objects mingled, and so did their provenances. New World objects were often called “indiane” or “dell’India;” almost never were they called American. Artifacts from New Spain were regularly studied in the context of knowledge about Egypt and Asia. As late as 1665, one Mesoamerican manuscript, the Cospi Codex, was inscribed “Libro della China” (and not long thereafter was corrected to “Libro del Messico,” signaling, perhaps, the advent of a new era of designation). Rather than see these incidents as mistakes or confusions to be cleared up, this paper attempts to inhabit the Amerasian extension imagined by Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a coherent if flexible system. What would it mean to look at the Cospi Codex and think of it as Chinese? What did their China look like?
Date: 3/25/2018
Conference Name: Association of Asian Studies Conference

“Through the slant of night:” The dark side of the earth in the sixteenth century (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: “Through the slant of night:” The dark side of the earth in the sixteenth century
Abstract: The discoveries of Columbus focused attention on the newly discovered but barely known regions on the far side of the earth, a new zone of convergence where East and West met and crossed over into one another. It was now possible to think beyond the "inhabited world" known since Antiquity and to consider the earth in global terms, which is to say as a geometric object viewable from more than one side. The other side of the earth, where the New World formed the nearest part of an extended Asia, was now relayed to Europeans through a series of mediated images, almost immediately becoming a mirror for the European imagination, a place where Europe found itself reflected in distant others. By considering several works of European sixteenth century art and literature, Alexander Nagel explores the dynamic reconfiguration of the world at a time when the imagination of globality was being framed explicitly as a problem of point of view, a problem directly concerning practices of image making and image viewing.
Author: Alexander Nagel
Date: 1/23/2018
Location: Courtauld Institute, London

The Other Side of the Earth in the Sixteenth Century (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The Other Side of the Earth in the Sixteenth Century
Abstract: The discoveries of Columbus focused attention on the newly discovered but barely known regions on the far side of the earth, a new zone of convergence where East and West met and crossed over into one another. It was now possible to think beyond the "inhabited world" known since Antiquity and to consider the earth in global terms, which is to say as a geometric object viewable from more than one side. The other side of the earth, where the New World formed the nearest part of an extended Asia, was now relayed to Europeans through a series of mediated images, almost immediately becoming a mirror for the European imagination, a place where Europe found itself reflected in distant others. By considering several works of European sixteenth century art and literature, Alexander Nagel explores the dynamic reconfiguration of the world at a time when the imagination of globality was being framed explicitly as a problem of point of view, a problem directly concerning practices of image making and image viewing.
Author: Alexander Nagel
Date: 2/26/2018
Location: Villa La Pietra, NYU, Florence, Italy

Dove sono le Anciennes Indes? (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Dove sono le Anciennes Indes?
Abstract: Delivered in Italian, this paper studies a series of tapestries made in France under Louis XIV representing "Les Anciennes Indes." Intended as a "portrait of Brazil," and based on eyewitness drawings and studies made in Brazil by Dutch artists, the tapestries also contain many Asian elements, such as an elephant, a rhinoceros, and various other flora and fauna, as well as Asian silks. The paper asks why one part of the Indies could not be separated from other parts in this very famous and much copied cycle.
Author: Alexander Nagel
Date: 5/17/2018
Location: Università la Sapienza, Roma

The Amerasian Extension in the European Imaginary, 1492-ca. 1700 (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The Amerasian Extension in the European Imaginary, 1492-ca. 1700
Abstract: Asian and American (and sometimes African) toponyms, peoples, terrain, flora, fauna, atmospheres, and cultural productions mingled in the European consciousness long after Columbus, and even as the Pacific was being regularly traversed by European galleons. The still dominant organization of historical study by field is structurally predisposed to misrecognize these associations as confusions or mistakes. Letting go of this armature can, however, bring into view a world in which Amerindians really are Indians, Mixtec codices are oriental manuscripts, and biblical sites are to be found in South America—artifacts of a resilient if malleable view of the world sustained by cosmological principle, cartographic convention, narrative forms, and protocols of collecting and display.
Author: Alexander Nagel
Date: 4/12/2018
Location: Center for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, Florence, Italy

"Through the Slant of Night:" The Other Side of the Earth in the Sixteenth Century (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: "Through the Slant of Night:" The Other Side of the Earth in the Sixteenth Century
Abstract: The discoveries of Columbus focused attention on the newly discovered but barely known regions on the far side of the earth, a new zone of convergence where East and West met and crossed over into one another. It was now possible to think beyond the "inhabited world" known since Antiquity and to consider the earth in global terms, which is to say as a geometric object viewable from more than one side. The other side of the earth, where the New World formed the nearest part of an extended Asia, was now relayed to Europeans through a series of mediated images, almost immediately becoming a mirror for the European imagination. By considering several works of European sixteenth century art and literature, Alexander Nagel explores the dynamic reconfiguration of the world at a time when the imagination of globality was being framed explicitly as a problem of point of view, a problem that directly concerned practices of image-making and image-viewing.
Author: Alexander Nagel
Date: 10/16/2018
Location: Program in History, Theory, and Criticism, School of Architecture, MIT


Permalink: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/products.aspx?gn=RZ-249862-16