Modern Languages

Natalia Sobrevilla Perea wins funding on war and nationhood

8 July 2015

An Article Image

Dr Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, from the Department of Modern Languages, has just received a Leverhulme Trust grant to to build an international network on ‘War and Nation: Identity and the Process of State-Building in South America (1800-1840)’.

Leverhulme Trust International Network grants allow UK-based researchers to build a new collaborative research project with overseas institutions, where successful completion is dependent on the participation of relevant overseas institutions.

Beginning in 2008, the celebrations of Spanish American independence led to a flurry of historical work challenging nationalist assumptions that current countries have existed since times immemorial. Until the 1840s, the Latin American countries we know today did not exist in their present form. Very little historiographical attention has been paid to both transnational and civil wars that took place across South America after final independence in 1825, and in no case have they been seen in a comparative way.

After independence in the 1820s, federations and confederations were attempted, borders were porous, and independent republics controlled only a fraction of the territory they claimed. Territorial conflicts between the newly independent Hispanic American republics, as well as strong regional identities within them, often led them to wars with their newly established neighbours as well as within themselves. The network's hypothesis is that throughout the 19th century, these wars were crucial in the creation of different national identities.

The new network seeks to move forward with this line of enquiry and interrogate how war became a catalyst for identity, fuelling the development of identities that would eventually become national in these newly created states. To be able to really understand and explain how the new states that emerged from Colonialism, it is necessary to work outside the constraints of the nations we know today, as they did not exist as such until much later.

The network will produce historical scholarship useful to Latin American specialists interested in the region and period, as well as to the wider literature on nationalism, and aims to produce an online resource that will make the analysis produced accessible to the wider public. The network will also engage with popular understandings of the nation around key public celebrations in the upcoming years, particularly in the popular media.

For more details on the Leverhulme Trust International Network grant scheme, please see the page here:



University of Kent - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

Last Updated: 13/05/2015