Panel 4 – Modern Institutional Networks Visualize Early Modern Archives: The Case of the Relaciones Geográficas y Topográficas




Nieto-Bello, Rafael
Granados, Rosario I
Cooley, Mackenzie
Konyushikhina, Nadezda
Favila, Mariana

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LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections


The 16th-century Relaciones Geográficas y Topográficas allow us to delve into archival interdependence then and now. The Relaciones endeavored to describe and map hundreds of municipalities in the Spanish Empire in response to a standard questionnaire. The project was remarkably successful in gathering information. Although we have yet to fully grasp how this information was put to use, we do know that it circulated throughout imperial archival networks. As such, the Relaciones become a representative case study for understanding archival networks as mechanisms to make knowledge possible and visible in both the past and the present. Invited scholars and archivists will discuss the challenges involved in gathering vast amounts of documentation hosted by dozens of archives worldwide. They will do so to highlight the processes behind reconstructing the archival and epistemological networks that this corpus evidences, and showcase the pedagogical and research potential of digital tools that necessarily must be developed through inter-institutional collaboration.


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