Department of Iberian and Latin American History
Title of PhD Project:
Popular Print Culture and the Book Market in Late Colonial Peru, 1763–1821
Prof. Dr. Stefanie Gänger
After studying Spanish, German, and History with a focus on Global History at the Universität Konstanz, I received my PhD from the Universität zu Köln in 2020, with a thesis entitled: Popular Print Culture and the Book Market in Late Colonial Peru, 1763–1821. My first, co-authored article is about books in the Andes, in particular about the collection of an indigenous priest in 1809, while in a volume edited with a colleague, we compare the book trade in Peru and New Spain during colonial times. Following several research trips to Peru and Spain, I have been a short term fellow at the John Carter Brown Library and a Visiting PhD Student at the Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge.
Since the first GSSC conference “Transformations in the Global South”, I have participated in various events organised by the Global South Studies Center. I was lucky to take part in stimulating GSSC workshops for early career researchers, such as on writing-up and dissemination. In the everyday PhD routine in Köln, the regular GSSC lectures present a highlight, offering a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue and exchange with scholars from all over the world.
This dissertation is about the social history of books in late colonial Peru (1760-1820), when transatlantic importation still thrived but local print production had already begun to multiply. The aim is to bring to light the diversity and hierarchy of the colonial book market and reconsider the question of how far books circulated in society. The viceregal book market and the interplay between print production, trade, and the circulation of books has been largely neglected by historians so far. The landscape of print culture is much wider and more complex than reflected in the history of books, which focuses almost exclusively on the grand libraries. To date, we have no comprehensive framework to analyse the scale, geography, and practices of both local production and the import trade which together account for the volume of distribution and acquisition of books in colonial Peru. Taking into account diverse modes of reception and popular uses of print, the dissertation reveals how more and more people in colonial society gained access to reading material in cities. Comparisons with other places around the globe show how the Peruvian book trade – and the Spanish American trade at large – formed part of the European book market at the time, while differing in important aspects, challenging deeply-held assumptions about the book’s role in the Enlightenment and Independence movements in the Peruvian context.