Roberto Chauca Tapia and Christopher Woolley have both been named 2012 International Dissertation Research Fellows by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). The Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) Program supports the next generation of scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences pursuing research that advances knowledge about non-U.S. cultures and societies. It funds nine to twelve months of support for international research to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled in PhD programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research. The 2012 cohort consists of 77 awardees distributed across 13 disciplines. Chauca Tapia and Woolley are the only awardees in Florida and are two of the five awardees in the South.
Chauca Tapia’s dissertation, entitled “Science in the Jungle: Missionary Mapping and National Imagining of Western Amazonia,” studies the Jesuit and Franciscan cartography of Western Amazonia between the late seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. The process of producing maps redefined how people conceptualized the territories, ethnicities, and nations of Amazonia. Chauca Tapia’s project thus aims to study how ideas of territoriality and ethnicity were formulated as the result of a process in which both missionaries and Amazonian Indians participated, and how Western Amazonia and its inhabitants eventually came to be considered either Ecuadorian or Peruvian after independence. This project involves Chauca Tapia in sixteen months of research in the archives of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. His research is also funded by a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the SSRC-IDRF, and a Beca Andina de Apoyo a la Investigación from the Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos.
Woolley’s project, “Crown, Colony, and the Forests of New Spain, 1521-1650,” exposes the relationship between imperial expansion, changes in the practices of forest conservation, and the process of colonization in central New Spain between 1521 and 1650. New Spain sat at the hub of a colonial empire stretching from Southeast Alaska to Venezuela and including the Philippines and the Spanish Wets Indies. Woolley argues that as a result of the negotiation between the Spanish colonial government and local elites in central Mexico over the extent of royal sovereignty, unsustainable practices were institutionalized at all administrative levels and buttressed by complex patronage networks that increasingly aligned the interests of colonial authorities in Mexico City with the economic ambitions of regional elites. This project is based primarily on the extensive collections of colonial documents held in the archives of central Mexico, in particular Mexico City’s Archivo General de la Nación. Woolley is currently spending sixteen months based in Mexico City, thanks to funding from both the SSRC-IDRF and Fulbright-García Robles programs. Over the coming months, he will also be making trips to several other archives in the region.
The UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere maintains a database of this and other fellowships for scholars working in the humanities. Students and scholars at UF are also encouraged to make use of our Grant Writing Services.
Center for the Humanities
and the Public Sphere
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
200 Walker Hall
P.O. Box 118030
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611