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“Respublica Rediviva: Plato and the Guaraní of Paraguay.” | Michael Brumbaugh
Looking for Utopia around every corner of the “New World,” 17th and 18th century Europeans saw in the Jesuit-Guaraní Republic of Paraguay an ancient Greek polity nestled deep within the heart of Spanish America. This talk examines the evolution of that European narrative as well as the carefully crafted response that emerged from the Americas in the form of a treatise comparing the Guaraní way of life with Plato’s Republic and Laws. Penned by a professor of rhetoric who had lived among the Guaraní, this work offers a nuanced rebuke of philosophes by figuring them as dangerous ideologues whose misappropriation of the ancient and new worlds threatened to destroy Europe.
This talk is a part of the series “Classics | Receptions | Borders”. This series showcases some of the work being done by early-career scholars that explores how the ancient world negotiated cultural boundaries and conversely how classical antiquity has been received in colonial and post-colonial arenas.