Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Del Castillo
University of Texas at Austin
Website URL
Colombia, 19th Century, Age of Revolutions, Print Culture, Public Sphere, History of Science, History of Cartography
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Lina del Castillo received her B.A. in History with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Cornell University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Miami. Her dissertation won the University of Miami’s Barrett Prize for the best Ph.D. dissertation on a Latin American topic in 2008. Her research focuses on the intersections between 19th-century republicanism, scientific thinking, the public sphere, and visual culture.

Del Castillo’s first book, Crafting Republic for the World: Scientific, Geographic, and Historiographic Inventions of Colombia examines how an array of nineteenth-century Spanish Americans marshaled in new histories, new sciences, and new geographies that offered radical new ways of understanding the past. Taking nineteenth-century Colombia as a case in point, this book explores the remarkable creativity and deep engagement with ‘on-the-ground’ realities that allowed these people to craft a republic that they believed the world would seek to emulate. Spanish American experiments with republicanism had no models to follow. From their perspective, neither the ossified aristocratic regimes of Europe nor the racist antebellum United States had been able to produce political and racial equality through republicanism. Spanish Americans had reason to believe that their republican experiments were the vanguard of political modernity. Their creativity was inspired by the socio-political and spatial revolutions unleashed by Spanish American independence and early processes of republican state formation. This body of knowledge would allow them to propel economic development and circulation. Through detailed knowledge of local realities, Spanish Americans would best manage how territorial sovereignty would intersect with individual sovereignty in their present and future republics. These stories have long been buried under enduring narratives of 19th-century chaos, Liberal versus Conservative caudillos, aloof, disconnected elites that preferred Euro-centric models to local needs and realities, and, of course, Spanish American colonial legacies. The book argues that, if it were not for the deep cultural work carried out by 19th-century Spanish Americans like those considered here, the very category of ‘colonial legacies’ would not exist.

Recent Publications


Del Castillo, Lina. Crafting a Republic for the World: Scientific, Geographic, and Historiographic Inventions of Colombia. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.

Del Castillo, Lina. Translation into Spanish. (Accepted; translated by María José Montoya Durana; expected publication in 2019). La Invención republicana del legado colonial: Ciencia, historia y geografía de la vanguardia política colombiana en el siglo XIX. Bogotá, Colombia: Banco de la República and Universidad de los Andes.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Del Castillo, Lina. (In Press, expected August 2018). “Entangled Fates: French-Trained Naturalists, the First Colombian Republic, and the Materiality and Spatiality of Geopolitical Practice, 1819-1830.” Hispanic American Historical Review 98, no. 3: 407-438.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters 

Del Castillo, Lina. (2017). “Cartographies of Colombian Independence.” In James R. Akerman (ed.), Decolonizing the Map: Cartography from Colony to Nation (110-159). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Del Castillo, Lina. (2012). “La cartografía impresa en la creación de la opinión pública en la época de la independencia [The Role of Print Cartography in the Creation of Public Opinión During the Period of Independence].” In Francisco A. Ortega Marínez & Alexander Chaparro Silva (eds.), Disfraz y pluma de todos: Opinión pública y cultura política, siglos XVIII y XIX [Everyman’s Costume and Pen: Public Opinion and Political Culture in the 18th-19th centuries] (377-420). Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Helsinki: University of Helsinki the Research Project Europe 1815-1914.

Del Castillo, Lina. (2011). “Interior Designs.” In Jordana Dym & Karl Offen (eds.), Mapping Latin America: A Cartographic Reader (148-152). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Del Castillo, Lina. (2011). “Educating the Nation.” In Jordana Dym & Karl Offen (eds.), Mapping Latin America: A Cartographic Reader (193-197). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
England, France, Latin America, United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
Book History, Diplomacy, Rebellion & Revolution, Science