2024 Maass Research Grant Recipient Announced

The Scholarship Committee of the Manuscript Society has awarded its $5,000 Maass Scholarship to Santiago Conti. Conti is a historian of Colonial Latin America and a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University.

Conti will use the award to cover the expenses of a two-month residency in Paraguay.  During which he will do research in the Archivo Nacional de Asunción in Paraguay. Two months in Paraguay is part of a sixteen-month trip to visit twelve archives in six different countries.

Research Focus

Conti has titled his dissertation, “Indian Politics in the Guarani Missions. Sovereignty, Territoriality, Government and Revolution in the Borderlands of the Iberic Empires in South America. 1750-1850.”  He proposes to re-think the history of imperial competition, revolution, and state building, pointing out the centrality of indigenous peoples’ actions in the outcome of those processes.

Conti notes, “I look for manuscripts produced by the Guarani indigenous peoples during the eighteenth century. My doctoral research focuses on the military and political mobilization of the Guarani in the missions located in the borderlands of the Spanish and Portuguese empires in South America, between 1750-1850. Under the Spanish colonial regime, and during Jesuit administration of the missions, the Guarani appropriated western writing technology. This technology allowed the Guarani to produce manuscripts that contributed to defining their identity, memory, and sense of territorial belonging.

These sources allow me to reconstruct the relationship between the Guarani and different subjects, and trace how power in the missions was constructed and negotiated. I am particularly interested in Guarani correspondence with Spanish authorities because it shows how the Guarani used their knowledge of the Spanish political culture and their role as soldiers to negotiate their place within the colonial regime. Current existing research, has overlooked the analysis of indigenous peoples as historical subjects. My project seeks to insert the Guarani in the history of the Age of Revolutions, the independence wars and state building in South America from a transnational perspective.”

Conti received his BA from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina and his MA in history from Princeton.

To learn more about the Maass Research Grant Click.