Kim Beauchesne: “Bridging Transatlantic and Transpacific Studies: Spanish, Japanese, and Nahua Narratives about the Keichō Embassy (1613-20)”


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It is not unusual in academia today to observe a gap between transatlantic and transpacific studies. The aim of my paper is precisely to contribute to filling this gap by analyzing narratives told from different perspectives about the Keichō Embassy—a diplomatic mission headed by the Japanese samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga that sailed from Sendai in 1613 and reached Rome in 1615 by way of Mexico before returning to Japan in 1620. These texts, by Spanish, Nahua, and Japanese authors, not only share many points in common but also reveal an intercontinental network of discursive connections. In this context, Serge Gruzinski’s notion of “planetary synchrony,” as developed in The Eagle and the Dragon (2014) and other works, will be particularly pertinent in highlighting such connections and reflecting on the roots of the contemporary global era.

Kim Beauchesne is Associate Professor in the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies at UBC. She specializes in colonial Latin American literature and postcolonial  theory. She is the author of Visión periférica: marginalidad y colonialidad en las crónicas de América Latina (siglos XVI-XVII  y XX-XXI) (2013) as well as many book chapters and articles. She has also published two co-edited volumes,The Utopian Impulse in Latin America (2011) and Performing Utopias in the Contemporary Americas (2017), and prepared a special issue of the Revista Literaria de Crítica Latinoamerica on the relationship between Asia and Latin America in Hispanic literature with Koichi Hagimoto and Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger (forthcoming).

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