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The Temporal Politics of Spiritual Conquest: History, Geography and Franciscan Orientalism in the Conquista Espiritual do Oriente of Friar Paulo da Trindade

Biedermann, Z; (2016) The Temporal Politics of Spiritual Conquest: History, Geography and Franciscan Orientalism in the Conquista Espiritual do Oriente of Friar Paulo da Trindade. Culture & History Digital Journal , 5 (2) , Article e014. 10.3989/chdj.2016.014. Green open access

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Abstract

This article queries the relationship between imperial expansion, geographical knowledge and epistemic spatiality in Portuguese Asia. It proposes to disentangle these aspects by exploring the Conquista Espiritual do Oriente of Friar Paulo da Trindade, a Lusophone, Asian-born Franciscan writing in Goa in the 1630s. Trindade’s chronicle provides disturbing insights into the difficult relationship between imperial expansion and the spatial organization of knowledge. Information about Asia and its peoples appears systematically detached from the spatial frameworks created by other authors and thrown into a panorama deeply reliant on spirituality and sacred history. Trindade’s work suggests that there were strong political reasons for the Order of Saint Francis to embrace such a narrative. Whilst generalizations remain to be avoided, the shadow cast by the Jesuits over the Franciscan enterprise in the East played a key role in the adoption by the Seraphic order of a discursive strategy where time trumped space. / Las Políticas Temporales de la Conquista Espiritual: Historia, Geografía y Orientalismo Franciscano en la Conquista Espiritual do Oriente de Frei Paulo da Trindade.- Este artículo se interroga acerca de la relación entre expansión ibérica, conocimiento geográfico y espacialidad epistémica en el Asia portuguesa. Se propone desentrañar estos tres aspectos mediante el análisis de la Conquista Espiritual do Oriente que compuso en Goa, en torno a 1630, Fr. Paulo da Trindade, un franciscano de origen portugués nacido en Asia. La crónica de Trindade proporciona una mirada perturbadora sobre la difícil relación entre expansión imperial y organización espacial del saber. La información sobre Asia y sus gentes aparece sistemáticamente disociada de los marcos geográficos creados por otros autores y dibuja un panorama fuertemente impregnado de espiritualidad e historia sagrada. La obra de Trindade sugiere que hubo poderosas razones políticas que llevaron a la Orden de San Francisco a adoptar esa tipo de narrativa. Sin caer en generalizaciones, la sombra de los jesuitas sobre la empresa franciscana en Asia jugó un papel esencial en el recurso por parte de la Orden seráfica de una estrategia discursiva en la que el tiempo se impuso al espacio.

Type: Article
Title: The Temporal Politics of Spiritual Conquest: History, Geography and Franciscan Orientalism in the Conquista Espiritual do Oriente of Friar Paulo da Trindade
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3989/chdj.2016.014
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2016.014
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 CSIC. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) Spain 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/es/deed.en).
Keywords: Portuguese Empire; Asia; writing culture; knowledge; space; cartography; social history of science; imperio portugués; Asia; cultura escrita; conocimiento; espacio; cartografía; historia social de la ciencia
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1528802
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