Research Plan

Summary of Proposed Research

The objective of the project on "The Hispanic Baroque: Complexity in the First Atlantic Culture" is to trace the interactions that created the cultural complexity that characterized the Hispanic Baroque, and that allow for their reproduction in and transfer to other cultural settings. First, we will establish how individual and collective identities were transformed and reshaped by the conflicts arising from colonization, resistance, "mestizaje," and isolation through the study of significant cases which are paradigmatic of the transatlantic relations from 1600 to 1825. Secondly, we will determine the various mechanisms that gave rise to the Ibeoramerican Baroque, and specifically, the role played in this process by the emerging technologies of culture, and by the transnational organizations involved in it. Thirdly, we will conceptually map the expansion of neobaroque expressions in the Atlantic rim at the turn of the 21st Century, how these expressions are using elements from the historical Baroque, and how they are informing the cultural settings in which they grow through their use of new medialitÚs.

Methodologically, we will apply selected ideas from complexity theory ("emergence," "dynamic stability," or "efficiency") to analyze three spheres of baroque culture: the baroque constitution; its religious expressions; and its urban aspects. Our hypothesis is that "baroque patterns" create stability in complex systems of culture, and that it is this stability the reason of its efficiency overtime. The impact of proving such hypothesis will be felt on the ability of complex societies to recognize the emergence of cultural complexity, to examine the ways in which cultural interaction amongst groups develops, or not, into "mestizaje" and hybridization, to study the ways in which the transformation at the local level of cultural modes imported from other societies help to balance complex societies, and to understand the constraints placed upon any political action aimed at reducing cultural variety in any given system. These issues are particularly relevant in our current international climate, and especially in a multi-cultural nation such as Canada.

We have prepared a research plan featuring: a) a strong international team formed by specialists in Cultural Transfers, Literary History, Mathematics, Art History, Architecture, Sociology, History, Anthropology, Music, and Complexity Theory; b) an ambitious plan of knowledge mobilization that comprises several academic meetings in Canada and abroad, partnerships with renowned academic publishers, a drama production a Stratford, music concerts, up to five art exhibitions, plus an important partnership with TV Ontario's Big Ideas, and the advice of reputed journalists in Canada and Spain; c) a comprehensive program for the training of our graduate students, including their participation in the governance of the project, and the creation of specially designed courses in three different areas of expertise.

The research project "The Hispanic Baroque: Complexity in the First Atlantic Culture" will make a fundamental contribution to our understanding of complexity in contemporary societies characterized by the increase of information flows and crossings over cultural and national boundaries. It will detect and describe baroque patterns in the Hispanic Baroque (a cultural formation that organizes itself around the need to synthesize cultural models unknown to each other at the beginning of the Modern Age) and trace those that have reemerged in today's world through neobaroque expressions. The study of the efficiencies that push these emergences will allow us to evaluate the stabilizing function that baroque patterns have in cultural complex systems as well as the role that art expressions have in the harnessing of complexity.

Research Structure

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Research Plan v.1.0

Research Plan v.2.0


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