March Conference at UCLA: Cities and Empire in Early Modern Spanish World

Cities and Empire in the Early Modern Spanish Habsburg World
A conference at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
—organized by Peter Arnade (University of Hawai’i at Mānoa) and Margaret Jacob (UCLA)
Saturday, March
2, 2013
As Richard L. Kagan has argued, the Spanish employed the founding of cities as a tool of imperial legitimacy in ways other emerging colonial powers did not, creating an “empire of cities.” In Europe, established urban centers from Brussels to Naples underwent political change and spatial redesign, often at the expense of older, republican commitments, while a new court capital, Madrid, was dramatically transformed. In the Americas, Mexico City was reshaped out of the violent demise of Tenochtitlan, while Lima was founded as a new viceregal capital and strategic alternative to the old Inca capital of Cuzco.

There has been some recent attention to the general contour of early modern Spanish cities, but none to the comparative issue of the city in the Habsburg world. This conference proposes to do just that, casting the net wide from northern Europe to Italy and the Viceroyalties of Peru and New Spain. Apart from the framework of the Habsburg Empire itself, the common denominator of our interest is the political construction and alteration of urban public space—how old communal spaces were remade into Baroque showcases of monarchical power and how, in overseas territories, urbanism was the cornerstone of monarchical legitimacy. Our end point will be the Baroque city of the seventeenth century and its transformed look, from grand public squares to royal citadels and new fortifications. We will explore the political motives and economic implications of the momentous spatial redesign, with special attention to city fortifications, marketplaces, public squares, royal residences, religious architecture, and pentagonal citadels.


–Registration form
Registration Deadline: February 22, 2013

Please click here for a printable registration form.

Registration Fees: $20 per person; UC faculty & staff, students with ID: no charge*

All students, UC faculty and staff may register via e-mail by sending their name, affiliation and phone number to

*Students should be prepared to provide their current University ID at the conference.

Complimentary lunch and other refreshments are provided to all registrants.

Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. Confirmation will be sent via email.

March 1
Program Schedule:
9:30 a.m. Morning Coffee and Registration
10:00 a.m. Barbara Fuchs, University of California, Los Angeles

Peter Arnade, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Opening Remarks

Session 1: Urbanism in the Americas
Chair:  Teofilo Ruiz, University of California, Los Angeles

Linda A. Curcio-Nagy, University of Nevada, Reno
The Politics of Recreation:  Ritual and the Alameda Central

Alejandro Cañeque, University of Maryland, College Park
Mexico City and the Martyrs of Japan: The Local and Imperial Identity of a New World Metropolis

Michael Schreffler, Virginia Commonwealth University
What Kind of Settlement Was Spanish Colonial Cuzco?

12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Session 2: Habsburg Italian Cities
Chair:  Anna More, University of California, Los Angeles

Stefano D’Amico, Texas Tech University
The Governor, the Bishop and the Merchant: The Cathedral Square and the Use of Urban Space in Spanish Milan

John A. Marino, University of California, San Diego
The Way of the Viceroy:  Mapping Spanish Power in Baroque Naples

3:00 p.m. Coffee Break
3:15 p.m. Session 3: Imperial and Local Spaces
Chair: Charlene Villaseñor Black, University of California, Los Angeles
Alejandra B. Osorio, Wellesley College
The City, the King and Imperial Culture: Lima, Lisbon, Madrid, Naples and Manila

James S. Amelang, Autonomous University of Madrid
The Walk of the Town: The Origins of Early Modern Urban Discourse

Jesús Escobar, Northwestern University
The Babylon of the Spanish Habsburg World: Madrid and Its Representation


5:15 p.m. Reception
March 2
9:30 a.m. Coffee and Registration
10:00 a.m. Session 4: The Habsburg North
Chair: Peter Arnade, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Luc Duerloo, University of Antwerp
Courting the City: The Archdukes Albert and Isabella and Brussels

Martha Pollak, University of Illinois, Chicago
Antwerp’s Early Modern Military Assets and Political Ceremonies

Concluding Remarks

Richard L. Kagan, Johns Hopkins University
An Empire of Towns: Some New Perspectives

12:30 p.m. Program concludes

About emspanishhistorynotes

Scott Taylor is an associate professor in the history department at the University of Kentucky.


2 thoughts on “March Conference at UCLA: Cities and Empire in Early Modern Spanish World

  1. This looks so fantastic, I wish I weren’t so far away from LA. What a line up!

    Posted by Erin | February 12, 2013, 10:11 am

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