Global Students, Global Writers: Education and World Literature in the Early Colonial Iberian World (1520-1620)
Carlos Diego Arenas Pacheco

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Notre Dame

Primary Discipline

History of Education
Beginning in the early sixteenth century, numerous non-European boys and girls in the Americas and Asia were educated in boarding schools managed by Spanish and Portuguese missionaries. There, non-European children became global students by receiving an education in both European culture (the Latin alphabet, the book, Catholic doctrine) and elements of their own cultures, particularly their language. Often against the wishes of Europeans, global writers appropriated the alphabet and the book to pursue their own literary (and political) agendas. Drawing from archival and printed sources in over ten languages, from Latin to Nahuatl and Japanese, this dissertation studies the reception of European education and literature by non-Europeans in the Spanish colonies of New Spain, Peru, the Philippines, and the Portuguese settlements in Asia. Against traditional accounts of Iberian educational projects that favor the perspective of European missionaries, this dissertation argues for the active role of non-Europeans in the education of new generations and the creation of their own bodies of writing. Starting from the study of the embodied experiences of boys and girls in boarding schools, I proceed to examine the curricula at schools of higher education for non-European young men. I finish with a comparative study of translations of European literature by global writers and of the development of non-European individual authorship in the early seventeenth century. By comparing Amerindian intellectuals with other global students and global writers, this dissertation contributes to scholarship on Indigenous intellectuals and to current debates on Indigenous education in a globalized world.
About Carlos Diego Arenas Pacheco
Carlos Diego Arenas Pacheco is a Ph.D. candidate at the Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame. Born and raised in Iztacalco, Mexico City and the town of San Francisco Shaxni by a working class family, he is proud of representing his Otomi, Nahua, and chilango roots beyond Mexico. His research focuses on the history of education and world literature in the early colonial Iberian world, from Mexico and Peru to the Philippines and Japan. With his comparative and multilingual research, he proposes a global account of the history of colonial education that inserts Amerindian students and writers within world history and literature. He is also interested in Indigenous language revitalization and the value of translating and producing world literature in Indigenous languages. In addition to his work as a Nahuatl language instructor and translator, he recently organized a public humanities event featuring Indigenous translators of Aesop?s Fables from across the Americas. He holds a Licentiate in Philosophy from Universidad La Salle, a Masters in Humanities from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, and a Masters in Medieval Studies from the Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame. In addition to the NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, his work has been supported by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (University of Notre Dame), Notre Dame International, the Bibliographical Society of America, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Newberry Library. He published his first peer-reviewed article in the Journal of World Literature and has submitted two other articles for publication.

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