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Nelson Shuchmacher Endebo



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History of Science
Literature and Anthropology
17th century literature

Nelson Shuchmacher Endebo

I am a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Department of Comparative Literature. Broadly speaking, I study the concept of relation, which lies at the core of our discipline; and metaphors and the role they play in the formation and reception of concepts. My primary areas of research are the literary history of natural philosophy in the European Middle Ages and early modern period, especially astronomy and mechanics; and the contribution of the New World, especially of Brazil, to the history of ideas… or, better said, I am interested in what the history of ideas looks like seen through the eyes of that which has no proper place in it. Methodologically, my work draws inspiration from conceptual history, critical semantics, contemporary anthropology and second-order cybernetics.
My MA thesis, Grid and Infinity, examined the history of GPS technology from an anthropological standpoint, articulating Blumenberg’s phenomenology with the thought of contemporary media theorists such as Sybille Krämer. There I considered the process of completion of the world-grid by astronautics as part of a millennia-old history of grid-making, a history of human attempts to domesticate space – and thus produce territories – and ward off contingency. The thesis was an occasion to form some preliminary hypotheses concerning the relationship between technology and the history of consciousness, which I will still be developing throughout the course of my PhD.

Since I arrived at Stanford I have become increasingly intrigued about questions of “cultural translation” in the Portuguese, Spanish and Italian archives on the Jesuit missions to China, Japan and the Philippines. I am interested in how these narratives stand alongside those depicting encounters with native Amerindian populations in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Current projects include a long-form piece on the language of magnetism in Western Europe up to and around the publication of William Gilbert’s De Magnete (1600); a reconsideration of modernist Antropofagia under the light of contemporary translation theory and ethnography on cannibalism; a conference paper on the concept of nature in Paul Valéry's Eupalinos, ou l'Architecte; and an essay on Vilém Flusser’s Vampyroteuthis Infernalis.
At Stanford I co-organize, with four DLCL colleagues, the reading group POEMS, a venue for reading and listening to poetry.


2017-present : PhD candidate, Comparative Literature, Stanford University
2017: M.A., Media Theory and Communication, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
2013: B.A., English and German Studies (summa cum laude), Portland State University
2012-13: DAAD Undergraduate Researcher, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg


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