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Nelson Shuchmacher Endebo



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History of Science
Literature and Anthropology
Comparative Poetics
17th century literature
Early Modern Iberian literature

Nelson Shuchmacher Endebo

I am a 4th year Ph.D. student in the Department of Comparative Literature. I am the founder and project manager of Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic, a community resource documenting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on everyday life. I recently gave an interview to the Stanford Daily about the project. For the most part, my academic work deals with the literary history of technology and natural philosophy in 16th and 17th century Iberia and its colonies, especially Mexico and Brazil.
I am very much engaged in the uses of technology in and out of academic settings. At Stanford I co-direct the Poetic Media Lab at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), and I am a contributor to the Florentine Codex Project, a Digital Humanities partnership between scholars at Bucknell University and Stanford’s Poetic Media Lab to produce a new digital edition of Bernardino de Sahagún’s Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España.
Since 2019 I work with the EPIC Fellowship staff of Stanford’s Global Studies Department, where I assist community college professors in developing global curricula and integrating technology in their classrooms.
In my dissertation I examine machine technology as a site that concentrates and challenges fundamental questions about our sense of reality. For example: for most of us, the windmill is simply an artifice that helps us grind grains. For others, it is an entry point to the intellectual history of rotational motion and its status vis-à-vis cosmology, theology and physics. Another example: the compass. For most of us, it is an object that helps us not get lost while aboard a ship. For others, it is an entry point to the intellectual history of magnetism, raising fundamental questions about part-whole relations and the allure of animism within the history of rationality. By contrasting the languages of writers, poets, missionaries, laymen, engineers, natural philosophers, and the teatro de máquinas genre, I show how these questions are worked out and integrated into everyday life as matters of course.
I am also interested in the implicit concepts of Comparative Literature employed on 16th and 17th century dramatic, poetic, epistolary, “literary” and “historical” accounts of interactions between native populations and Iberian settlers and missionaries in Latin America and East Asia.
Along with Prof. Vincent Barletta, I founded and organize the South of South workshop, where we pursue a comparative framework that takes seriously non-standard theory (i.e. thought not presented in the language of European theory). I find such a framework urgent for relevant Humanities research in 2020.
You can contact me here for a full list of publications and CV.


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 scholarship recipient, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg