Aesthetic and Design of Latin American Technology
History of technology is a relatively young field in Latin America and thus the engagement with Latin American technological aesthetics and design has received scant scholarly attention. Scholarship on the history of technology in Latin America has largely focused on the embrace or rejection and/or appropriation and domestication of imported and native technologies through a textual reading of sources, leaving aesthetic rendering of these processes outside historical inquiry. This working group, in preparation of an edited volume, begins to correct this by bringing together perspectives examining the tensions between technology, design and aesthetics by analyzing state modernization projects for the urban and rural environments and individual users who reimagined or reconfigured the aesthetics of technological devices as these were domesticated in their context of use. By combining these two scales, the scholars in the working group will not only contribute to current discussions on the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries but also (1) explore how they informed and are informed by the politics of design and aesthetics (2) underline the way these imaginaries are not only textual but visual and aural, (3) and, how users altered and reinvented the aesthetics/design of technological devices to meet their cultural and personal values, needs and desires.
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Thursday, January 27, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST
#1-David Dalton, UNC Charlotte, “Eduardo Urzaiz's novel, Eugenia and the Interface of aesthetics and science in constructing eugenics in postrevolutionary Mexico”
#2-Lucas Izquierdo, Independent Scholar, “Novel as technology: 19th and 20th century Peru”
Thursday, February 24, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST
#1-Fabián Prieto-Nanez, Virginia Tech, “Taste, class, and popular design of technical devices in Bogota, Colombia”
#2-Sonia Robles, University of Delaware, “Blueprints for Modernity: Public radio programming in Mexico”
#3-Third presenter TBA
Thursday, March 24, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT
#1-Lisa Munro, Independent Scholar. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17530350.2021.1977677
#2-Yohad Zacaria, University of Chile. "Urban, environmental, and technological impact of electrification in Chile, 19th and 20th centuries"
#3-Peter Soland, Southeast Missouri State University, "Aerial Shots and Bomber Jackets: The Role of Aviation, Celebrity, and Cinema in Re-Imagining Latin America"
Thursday, April 28, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT
#1-Lucas Erichsen, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro), "Under the Sun, between tropics: meat preservation technology in late 19th century Brazil"
#2-Marisa Lerer, Manhattan College, “Technology and Memorial Design in the Southern Cone”
#3-Third presenter TBA
Thursday, May 26, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT
#1-David Pretel, Pompeu Fabra University, “Green Gold Modernity: Machines, Peonage and Henequen in Yucatan’s Gilded Age”
#2-Leida Fernandez-Prieto, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, “Mute Witnesses: Mapping the Meanings of the Images on the History of Cuban Agriculture”
#3-Third presenter TBA
Thursday, June 23, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT
Agenda (Updated 9/5/21)
Final Session: Thursday, 6/23/22, 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT
- Meeting with volume editor.
- Discussion of Next Steps
October 28, 2021
Diana Montaño, Washington University in St. Louis, "Development is Modernity + Rural Electrification: The Aesthetic of Latin American Electricscapes"
Daniel Rebouças, Universidade Federal da Bahia Brasil, “Aesthetics of Electricity in Bahia”
September 23, 2021
- Yovanna Pineda, University of Central Florida, "Gendered spaces/representations of machine design and repair in Argentina, 20th Century"
- Dafne Cruz Porchini, Researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM, “Fermín Revueltas fresco Alegoría de la productividad (1934)”
Agenda (updated 9/5/21)
- 1:00pm-1:15pm - Introductions
- 1:15pm-1:20pm - Race & Tech. Announcement
- 1:20pm-1:50pm - Speaker (Yovanna) presentation + QA/comments
- 1:50pm 2:20pm - Speaker (Dafne) presentation + QA/comments
- 2:20pm-2:30pm - Discussion: "What is your idea of aesthetics and design?"
Diana Montaño is Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her teaching and research interests broadly include the construction of modern Latin American societies with a focus on technology and its relationship to nationalism, everyday life, and domesticity. Her first book Electrifying Mexico looks at how "electrifying agents" (businessmen, salespersons, inventors, doctors, housewives, maids, and domestic advisors) used electricity, both symbolically and physically, in the construction of a modern nation. Taking a user-based perspective, Dr. Montaño reconstructs how electricity was lived, consumed, rejected, and shaped in everyday life (https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/montano-electrifying-mexico). For her articles on the intersection of humor and class in streetcar accidents see History of Technology (https://tinyurl.com/5cr7r6hu -) and Technology's Stories (https://tinyurl.com/p4ucsmns). For her HAHR article on power theft in turn-of-the-century Mexico see https://tinyurl.com/9chy8s8v
Yovanna Pineda is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida. She is author of Industrial Development in a Frontier Economy: The Industrialization of Argentina, 1890‐1930 (Stanford, 2009). Her upcoming book, Sensational Machines: Technē‐Culture in Argentina, examines the ritual and myth-making in the design, maintenance, and repair of harvesters and tractors. Drawing on ethnographic methods, archival sources, oral histories, rumor, social media, and material culture, this transdisciplinary work charts the genealogy of technological culture in Argentina. It analyzes the 200-year development of peoples’ emotional and sensory meanings of cutting-edge technology during the long 19th-20th centuries. Dr. Pineda also works with AI, game design of historical events, and other projects—details can be found at the site: https://yovannapineda.com/.
Sonia Robles is an assistant professor of history at the University of Delaware. She studies and writes about wireless media, history and culture in Mexico and among Spanish-speaking immigrants in the United States. She teaches courses in Latin American, Mexican, Borderlands and Latinx history. She authored Mexican Waves: Radio Broadcasting Along Mexico's Northern Border,1930-1950 (The University of Arizona Press, 2019). In it, she examines Mexican radio entrepreneurs and their Spanish-language audiences. Currently, she is working on a project exploring radio advertising among Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S.A. and she's writing a book on the history of Mexican state-sponsored media.