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Book Cover
Author Capello, Ernesto, author

Title City at the center of the world : space, history, and modernity in Quito / Ernesto Capello
Published Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (313 pages) : illustrations, maps
Series Pitt Latin American Series
Pitt Latin American series.
Summary "In the seventeenth century, local Jesuits and Franciscans imagined Quito as the "new Rome." It was the site of miracles and home of saintly inhabitants, the origin of crusades into the surrounding wilderness, and the purveyor of civilization to the entire region. By the early twentieth century, elites envisioned the city as the heart of a modern, advanced society--poised at the physical and metaphysical centers of the world. In this original cultural history, Ernesto Capello analyzes the formation of memory, myth, and modernity through the eyes of Quito's diverse populations. By employing Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of chronotopes, Capello views the configuration of time and space in narratives that defined Quito's identity and its place in the world. He explores the proliferation of these imaginings in architecture, museums, monuments, tourism, art, urban planning, literature, religion, indigenous rights, and politics. To Capello, these tropes began to crystallize at the end of the nineteenth century, serving as a tool for distinct groups who laid claim to history for economic or political gain during the upheavals of modernism. As Capello reveals, Quito's society and its stories mutually constituted each other. In the process of both destroying and renewing elements of the past, each chronotope fed and perpetuated itself. Modern Quito thus emerged at the crux of Hispanism and Liberalism, as an independent global society struggling to keep the memory of its colonial and indigenous roots alive"-- Provided by publisher
"This is a cultural history of Quito that provides analysis of the relationship between space, history, and modernity in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ecuador. Capello develops a multipronged investigation of the sustained modernization and demographic growth in the Ecuadorian capital that coincided with the historic preservation of its monumental colonial core and the development of a vibrant tourist economy. The book provides genealogies of six chronotopes, or narrative configurations of space-time, that envisioned the city at the center of both the physical and metaphysical worlds, and suggests that each chronotope placed the historical experience of a particular group of individual and collective actors at the center of a global metanarrative that reinvented Quito's geographic morphology. The selective deployment of these collective mythologies accentuated the power, economic strength, and versatility of the groups in question. By tracing their origins and reflecting upon their contemporary resonance, Capello reveals how the plasticity of history and memory has reshaped the spatial and cultural landscape of the city up to the present day"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Collective memory -- Ecuador -- Quito.
Historic preservation -- Ecuador -- Quito -- History.
Place (Philosophy)
Quito (Ecuador) -- Historiography -- Social aspects.
Quito (Ecuador) -- History.
Quito (Ecuador) -- Population.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0822961660
0822977435 (e-book)
9780822977438 (e-book)