Conference: The School of Salamanca - A Case of Global Knowledge Production?


  • Start: Oct 24, 2018 03:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • End: Oct 26, 2018 08:00 PM
  • Location: Academia Nacional de la Historia de la Republica Argentina, Buenos Aires
Conference: The School of Salamanca - A Case of Global Knowledge Production?

In 2018, the University of Salamanca celebrates its 800th anniversary; an event not only of Castilian or Spanish importance but with worldwide reverberations. From the beginning of the 16th century until the 18th century, the so-called School of Salamanca shaped the juridical-political discourse and language of the two great Iberian empires, with its characteristic intertwining of science, jurisprudence, religion, and politics. Theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, natural sciences owe substantial innovations to this group of Spanish, Portuguese and American thinkers whose impact was never limited by frontiers of countries, continents, or religious denominations.

For a very long time, the worldwide significance of the School of Salamanca was understood as a phenomenon of the reception in which the American and Asian actors appeared only as passive recipients of European knowledge and normativity. However, processes of global interactions have been brought into focus by recent researches in the fields of legal history, philosophy, and history of knowledge. Thus “Salamanca“becomes a point of intersection in a world-encompassing network of normative knowledge production.

The conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on how this normative knowledge was produced, with special attention paid to the American parts of the Iberian monarchies of the 16-18th centuries. What was the institutional framework of knowledge production, and how did it influence the results? How can we analyze the process of knowledge production under the perspectives of cultural translation and textuality? Such questions can only be answered on a broad fundament of micro-historical studies of actors, practices, knowledge reservoirs, and institutions. As a result, we anticipate a new, richly textured image of the School of Salamanca’s global significance.

At the same time, the conference will serve as a preparatory workshop for an edited volume to be published in 2019.

In preparation for the discussions and the conference, Thomas Duve has presented some ideas in his working paper “La Escuela de Salamanca: ¿un caso de producción global de conocimiento?“, SvSal WP No. 2018-02.

Court yard of the Escuelas Menores, Salamanca
Photo: Christiane Birr

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