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Ralph Robert Bauer

Head shot of Ralph Bauer

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Arts and Humanities
Professor of English and Comparative Literature, English

(301) 405-5646

1102 B Francis Scott Key Hall
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Education

Ph.D., English, Michigan State University

Research Expertise

American
Textual and Digital Studies
Transatlantic Studies

Curriculum Vitae

Ralph Bauer has been with the University of Maryland since 1998. He specializes in the literatures and cultures of the early Americas, comparative literature, critical science studies, as well as hemispheric American and early modern Atlantic studies.

He is the general editor of the Early Americas Digital Archive, and his publications include The Alchemy of Conquest: science, religion, and the secrets of the New World (University of Virginia Press, 2019); The Cultural Geography of Colonial American Literatures (Cambridge UP, 2003 and 2008); An Inca Account of the Conquest of Peru: by Titu Cusi Yupanqui (U of Coloardo P, 2005); Locations of Culture: Identity, Home, Theory (Michigan SUP, 1998)(with Jose Antonio Mazzotti) Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas: empires, texts, identities (UNCP, 2009); (with Kimberly Coles, Carla Peterson, and Zita Nunes), The Cultural Politics of Blood, 1500-1900 (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2015); (with Marcy Norton) Entangled Trajectories: integrating Native and Early Modern European studies. A special issue of Colonial Latin American Review v. 26 (2017); and (with Jaime Marroquin Arredondo) Translating Nature: transcultural histories of early modern science (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). Also, he has published ca. seventy articles, review essays, and book reviews in collections and journals such as Early American Literature, Colonial Latin American Review, American Literary History, American Literature, Revista Iberoamericana, Dieciocho: the Hispanic EnlightenmentThe Americas, and Comparative Literature. He is currently serving as associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Arts and Humanities.

Courses

Independent Study (ENGL 699)
The Rites of Discovery: Science, Law, and Literature 1492-1992

Independent Study (ENGL 699)
The Rites of Discovery: Science, Law, and Literature 1492-1992

Independent Study (ENGL 699)
The Rites of Discovery: Science, Law, and Literature 1492-1992

Awards & Grants

2017 (Spring) semester-long Research and Scholarship Award, the Graduate School, University of Maryland. 

2017 (Spring) semester-long Research and Scholarship Award, the Graduate School, University of Maryland. 

English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer
Dates:

2017 (Spring) semester-long Research and Scholarship Award, the Graduate School, University of Maryland.

Publications

The Alchemy of Conquest: Science, Religion, and the Secrets of the New World

This book explores the role that the verbal, conceptual, and visual language of alchemy played in the literature of the conquest of America and in the rise of an early modern paradigm of discovery in both science and international law.

English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer
Dates:

This book explores the role that the verbal, conceptual, and visual language of alchemy played in the literature of the conquest of America and in the rise of an early modern paradigm of discovery in both science and international law. While the roots of the modern 'conquistadorial' attitude toward nature lie in late medieval alchemy, which fused Aristotelian reason with Christian apocalypticism in the militant context of crusade and spiritual conquest, this book argues that the modern idea of what it means to discover something has a colonial history in which conquest legitimated the modern (Baconian) idea of discovery by underwriting it with religious messianism and early modern state power. Thus, the book traces the intellectual and spiritual legacies of such late medieval alchemists as Roger Bacon, Arnald of Villanova, and Ramon Llull in the early modern literature of the conquest of America in texts written by authors such as Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Jose de Acosta, Nicolas Monardes, Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriot, Francis Bacon, and Alexander von Humboldt.

Translating Nature: Cross-Cultural Histories of Early Modern Science

Translating Nature recasts the era of early modern science as an age not of discovery but of translation.

English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer
Dates:

Translating Nature recasts the era of early modern science as an age not of discovery but of translation. As Iberian and Protestant empires expanded across the Americas, colonial travelers encountered, translated, and reinterpreted Amerindian traditions of knowledge—knowledge that was later translated by the British, reading from Spanish and Portuguese texts. Translations of natural and ethnographic knowledge therefore took place across multiple boundaries—linguistic, cultural, and geographical—and produced, through their transmissions, the discoveries that characterize the early modern era. In the process, however, the identities of many of the original bearers of knowledge were lost or hidden in translation.

The essays in Translating Nature explore the crucial role that the translation of philosophical and epistemological ideas played in European scientific exchanges with American Indians; the ethnographic practices and methods that facilitated appropriation of Amerindian knowledge; the ideas and practices used to record, organize, translate, and conceptualize Amerindian naturalist knowledge; and the persistent presence and influence of Amerindian and Iberian naturalist and medical knowledge in the development of early modern natural history. Contributors highlight the global nature of the history of science, the mobility of knowledge in the early modern era, and the foundational roles that Native Americans, Africans, and European Catholics played in this age of translation.

Contributors: Ralph Bauer, Daniela Bleichmar, William Eamon, Ruth Hill, Jaime Marroquín Arredondo, Sara Miglietti, Luis Millones Figueroa, Marcy Norton, Christopher Parsons, Juan Pimentel, Sarah Rivett, John Slater.

 

Entangled Trajectories: Integrating Native and Early Modern European Studies

In this special issue, Bauer and Norton want to adopt Eden’s literary trope as a metaphor for understanding the history of the early modern Atlantic World after Eurasia, Africa, and America came into contact with one another.

English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer
Dates:

PLACE HOLDER TEXT

The Cultural Politics of Blood, 1500-1900

The essays collected here consider how conceptions of blood permeate discourses of human difference from 1500 to 1900 in England and continental Spain and in the Anglo- and Ibero-Americas.

Center for Literary and Comparative Studies | English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer, Kimberly Coles, Zita Nunes, Carla Peterson
Dates:

The essays collected here consider how conceptions of blood permeate discourses of human difference from 1500 to 1900 in England and continental Spain and in the Anglo- and Ibero-Americas. The authors explore how ideas about blood in science and literature have supported, at various points in history, fantasies of human embodiment and difference that serve to naturalize social hierarchies already in place. Situating the complex relationship between modern and pre-modern conceptions of race at the junction of early modern medicine, heredity, religion, and nation, The Cultural Politics of Blood challenges established accounts of the genealogy of modern racism.

Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas: Empires, Texts, Identities

This collection of eighteen original essays investigates the creolization of literary forms and genres in the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer
Dates:

Creolization describes the cultural adaptations that occur when a community moves to a new geographic setting. Exploring the consciousness of peoples defined as "creoles" who moved from the Old World to the New World, this collection of eighteen original essays investigates the creolization of literary forms and genres in the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

An Inca Account of the Conquest of Peru by Titu Cusi Yupanqui

An Inca Account of the Conquest of Peru is a firsthand account of the Spanish invasion, narrated in 1570 by Diego de Castro Titu Cusi Yupanqui - the penultimate ruler of the Inca dynasty -

English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer
Dates:

Available in English for the first time, An Inca Account of the Conquest of Peru is a firsthand account of the Spanish invasion, narrated in 1570 by Diego de Castro Titu Cusi Yupanqui - the penultimate ruler of the Inca dynasty - to a Spanish missionary and transcribed by a mestizo assistant. The resulting hybrid document offers an Inca perspective on the Spanish conquest of Peru, filtered through the monk and his scribe.

Titu Cusi tells of his father's maltreatment at the hands of the conquerors; his father's ensuing military campaigns, withdrawal, and murder; and his own succession as ruler. Although he continued to resist Spanish attempts at "pacification," Titu Cusi entertained Spanish missionaries, converted to Christianity, and then, most importantly, narrated his story of the conquest to enlighten Emperor Phillip II about the behavior of the emperor's subjects in Peru. This vivid narrative illuminates the Incan view of the Spanish invaders and offers an important account of indigenous resistance, accommodation, change, and survival in the face of the European conquest.

Informed by literary, historical, and anthropological scholarship, Bauer's introduction points out the hybrid elements of Titu Cusi's account, revealing how it merges native Andean and Spanish rhetorical and cultural practices. This new English edition will interest students of colonial Latin American history and culture and of Native American literatures.

The Cultural Geography of Colonial American Literatures: Empire, Travel, Modernity

Bauer presents a comparative investigation of colonial prose narratives in Spanish and British America from 1542 to 1800.

English

Lead: Ralph Robert Bauer
Dates:

Bauer presents a comparative investigation of colonial prose narratives in Spanish and British America from 1542 to 1800. He discusses narratives of shipwreck, captivity and travel, as well as imperial and natural histories of the New World in the context transformative early modern scientific ideologies and investigates the inter-connectedness of literary evolutions in various places of the early modern Atlantic world. Bauer positions the narrative models promoted by the 'New Sciences' during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries within the context of the geopolitical question of how knowledge can be centrally controlled in outwardly expanding empires.