Hernán Rodríguez Varas

2022-2023

François Chevalier fellow

Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici

Republican catechisms in Spain (1850-1874), Civil religion and political promotion for the “salvation of the people”

Hernán Rodríguez Vargas has a Ph.D. in Literary, Linguistic and Historical Studies (University of Salerno, Italy). His interests encompass Contemporary History, Visual Studies, Republican Studies and, recently, Public History.

In his doctoral thesis he has examined the triangular relationship between civil wars, circulation of images, processes of nation building, creation of memories and identities during the nineteenth century.

Post-doctoral fellow of the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici Benedetto Croce (2020-2022) with the project Guardare la guerra con nuovi occhi, Fotoreport-age e giornalismo illustrato nella seconda metà dell’Ottocento (1853-1876). He is author of Las Armas las Letras y el Compás (2018) and Siete mitos de la independencia de la Nueva Granada (which will be published next Fall).

Research project

Political catechisms in Spain spread throughout the nineteenth century. After the revolution of 1820, the constitutional turn fostered the publication of political catechisms in support of the alliance between the Monarchy and Catholicism. However, in the period between 1840 and 1843 catechisms’ publications turned into a republican, antimonarchical and religious freedom propaganda tool, as well as during the revolution of July 1854 and the revolution of September 1868. In addition to claiming radical and democratic reforms, these catechisms also contrasted with the model of monarchical government and became the doctrinal basis, first of the Democratic Party, and later of the Federal Democratic Republican Party. Furthermore, they established the pre-eminence of a new civil religion, where the people themselves acted as a redeemer of the society.

The current research, therefore, aims to study the production and dissemination of republican catechisms published between 1850 and 1874. By analyzing the contents and dissemination practices, this study assumes that trough these documents it is possible to have a greater understanding of the political socialization dynamics of the republican Spanish thought during the second half of the nineteenth century. This research represents not only an important contribution to the study of the European and Spanish republicanism history, but also intends to contribute to the digitalization of cultural devices and political message transferts, such as catechisms. This last goal intends to support the building of a European and Latin American virtual republican library by the University of Neuchâtel, funded by the Swiss National Fund for the polycentric study of modern republicanism.

Selected Publications

- 2022. Siete mitos de la independencia de la Nueva Granada, imágenes, imaginarios y politización de la historia. Bogotá, Editorial Javeriana (En curso de publicación).

- 2022. La spettacolarizzazione della guerra al brigantaggio: fotografia e giornalismo illustrato (1860-1870). en G.L. Fruci, D. Di Bartolomeo e G. Tatasciore, Lo Spettacolo del Brigantaggio, Cultura visuale e circuiti mediatici fra Sette e Ottocento, Roma, Viella

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