Juan Pablo Ardila

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Ph.D. Candidate

Email: juanard@sas.upenn.edu

Dissertation title: The Ebb and Flow of Revolution: A History of Emotions and Citizenship in Early Nineteenth-Century Colombia

My dissertation examines the ways in which emotions, such as fear, confusion, guilt, and hope, gave meaning to people’s sense of reality, their memories, and their imagined futures in the territories of the former Viceroyalty of New Granada. I focus on the period between 1808, when the Spanish monarchical crisis broke out, and 1830, when the first Republic of Colombia dissolved. My research explores the role of emotions shaping political debates and the social transformations that were taking place. Emotions both facilitated and hindered reforms such as slave manumission, racial equality, universal citizenship, and the desacralization of political life. By the late 1820s, widespread fear, guilt, and confusion were key reasons why these reforms were cast aside and only implemented gradually and incompletely. Throughout, I closely analyze specific events such as a panic attack in Quito, an earthquake in Venezuela, and the spread of rumors and conspiracies leading to the formation of a government junta in Santafé de Bogotá. My research pays close attention to people’s gestures, actions, and views in order to capture the atmosphere of the time as well as to disentangle underlying struggles over society’s hegemonic frameworks.

As an undergraduate and MA student in Colombia, I developed an interest for US-Latin American relations. I was particularly interested in examining the ways in which these relations shaped Colombia’s economic and social policy during the first half of the twentieth century. As a PhD student at Penn, I have gone back in time and ended up focusing on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. During my first years living in Philadelphia, I focused on the implementation of vagrancy laws during the Bourbon Reforms. One of my research papers examined the problems New Granada’s viceregal and local authorities faced when trying to apply these laws. A second paper examined the life of a Carlos Canales, a somewhat idiosyncratic man whose life illustrates the tensions between conflicting notions of honor, nobility, work, and vagrancy in Bourbon Spain. Later on, in another paper, I examined the role of orality and written culture in the diffusion of information during the 1781 Comunero Revolt in New Granada. The paper focused on a series of pasquines (lampoons) and bandos (posters) that were posted in city walls in 1781. 


Committee Members: 

Ann Farnsworth-Alvear (Advisor), Roger Chartier, Antonio Feros.


M.A., History, University of Pennsylvania (2018)
M.A., History, Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) (2015)
B.A., History, Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) (2010)
B.A., Economics, Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) (2010)

Research Interests

Latin American History, Iberian Atlantic History, Cultural History, History of Emotions, History of Material Texts.

Courses Taught

Teaching Assistant: American Capitalism (HIST161), Modern Latin America (HIST071), Colonial Latin America (HIST070), The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire (HIST179).

Selected Publications

Ardila Falla, Juan Pablo, “Reflexiones sobre el imperialismo norteamericano: la política agraria colombiana en la década de 1930 y la influencia estadounidense" at Historia Crítica, Uniandes, Bogotá, v. 51, 2013, p. 171- 195. (http://revistas.uniandes.edu.co/doi/pdf/10.7440/histcrit51.2013.08)