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The C diz Constitution of 1812 and its Impact in the Atlantic World and Beyond Principal coordinators Natalia Sobrevilla Perea University of Kent UK Scott Eastman Creighton University US In March 1812 during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain a liberal constitution was promulgated in C diz Drafted by elected representatives from Spain and the Americas it was put in practice in almost all the areas of the Hispanic Monarchy still under control of the Spanish crown The 1812 charter was extremely influential in the Iberian world yet its wider impact is not fully understood because much of the historiography has centered on the political philosophy of nineteenth century liberalism rather than on the document s concrete application A series of seminars coordinated by Natalia Sobrevilla Perea and Scott Eastman aim to address this by looking at how the Constitution informed debates and policies not only where it was put into practice but even areas where it was not such as present day Argentina These workshops will look at how it affected the processes of American independence as well as its longer term importance in newly independent states from elections and municipal governance to issues of race gender national identity and citizenship The seminars have two main aims to look at the period from a transnational and from an inter disciplinary perspective Accordingly emphasis will be placed upon the Hispanic world within Atlantic history with comparisons to British French and U S currents of thought and experience and will be widened to incorporate the Pacific Rim notably the Philippines Second the workshops will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to Latin American Studies with participating scholars from the fields of anthropology law philosophy political science and history The bicentenary of the charter provides an excellent opportunity to re examine the independence era as interest in the period has been growing The 1812 Constitution was an attempt to govern a far flung composite monarchy from the Atlantic to the Pacific Constitutionalism remains an arena of contestation in Latin America while in Spain there are ongoing conversations over the way in which a centralized government reflects a diverse society and areas such as the Basque and Catalan provinces still strive for further autonomy The complex legacy of the early liberal societies within the Hispanic world merits reconsideration a more nuanced study of the history of its first charter will shed light on both nineteenth century political cultures and contemporary politics These seminars will bring together specialists from Europe and the Americas to discuss the impact of the 1812 Constitution Most of the participating scholars have concentrated on particular case studies at either the national or sub national levels and some have undertaken comparative work The seminars will provide them with an ideal space to discuss the Constitution outside of national frameworks that have so far informed much of the research This will allow for an assessment of the long term impact of the Constitution by making possible comparisons that have seldom been made before For example we will include areas such as the Philippines and Cuba rarely considered in these analyses because they did not achieve independence from Spain until 1898 and the R o de la Plata Argentina where the Constitution was not implemented Lesser known constitutional experiments in the Hispanic world such as the Apazing n Constitution of 1811 and the Antioquia Constitution of 1812 also will be considered Contemporaneous uprisings in Cuba 1812 the Philippines 1813 and Peru 1814 will be explored in light of the revolutionary activity of the age This approach will allow us to advance the understanding of the processes of independence as well as the development of constitutional praxis across the Americas and beyond To date however much of the work on the C diz Constitution centers on the role of the Cortes and the context in which the charter was designed In addition a great deal of attention has been paid to the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian peninsula and the warfare that engulfed the Spain and subsequently Spanish America Studies therefore have tended to focus on the rupture with the Old Regime as well as the particular contribution of the deputies from both sides of the Atlantic The inner mechanics of the constitution the legal language used to construct it and the nature of Hispanic liberalism also have been explored fruitfully Latin Americanists increasingly have been attracted to this period because the Constitution included the citizens of American viceroyalties as equals and stressed the point that the Americas were not regarded as colonies On the other hand Spanish America ultimately was denied the number of representatives it should have had based upon its population as vitriolic debates raged over whether or not to count castas and slaves Our workshops will shift away from national historiographies and earlier methods and interrogate the ways in which the C diz Constitution changed socio political practices and institutions across Spain and Spanish America We believe that some of the most important analyses of the impact of the 1812 Constitution currently are being developed in Latin America For instance Marcela Ternavasio from the University of Rosario in Argentina has revolutionized the field She has stated forcefully that although the Constitution was never implemented in the R o de la Plata it had a great impact Others such as Mar a Eugenia Chavez at the Universidad Nacional de Medell n in Colombia have shed light on how subaltern actors used the space opened by constitutional debates contemporaneous to C diz to further their bid for abolition of slavery and the passing of free womb laws On the theoretical side the work of Jos Antonio Aguilar in Mexico and Roberto Gargarella in Argentina has shown the importance of thinking about the Constitution outside of more traditional national constraints In Peru Claudia Rosas Lauro who has published on the influence of the ideas of the French revolutions 1789 and 1848 now uses this approach to study the context of the C diz Constitution All these scholars together with historians based in the United States and in Europe will make it possible to recast the study of this period an epoch marked by political and social transformation This project has been conceived of by a network early career scholars many having

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