The purpose of the coordinated project “En los bordes del archivo: escrituras periféricas, escrituras efímeras en los Virreinatos de Indias” is defined by the first element of the title itself, studied in relation to the Spanish-American colonial writing and approached according to the broader meaning of the term, to be understood not only in its most positivist meaning – as the accumulation or deposit of documents aimed at the conformation of an historiographical truth, faithful to the imposition of imperial power – but, above all, in the parallel meanings of “place of memory” and “epistemic metaphor”, an instrument capable of enabling an “archaeological” interpretation of knowledge.
According to this opening of the term, the project does not contemplate the “archive” only as a repository of literary or bookish manifestations: on the contrary, in the awareness of the variability of its nuances for the Hispanic colonial reality, the study will modify from time to time skills, meaning and conditions of use; arriving, for example, to include a varied object production, typical of material history studies; or a characteristic gesture of what is defined as the analysis of the cultural performance of his time.
For this reason, the research project will work with a corpus as varied as the Indian archive itself, paying particular attention to what is placed at its “borders”, because, due to the dynamics imposed by an absent center, the existence of an activity of high representative value at its margins appears as its intrinsic peculiarity. If we trace the cartography of the scriptural production of the West Indies during the Spanish domination, we find that it is in the less canonical sphere – in the interstices or cracks of archival accumulation – where the most innovative expressions, the most distinguished writings, the more transgressive materialities are generated.
In the awareness that any cultural system is not complete if it does not investigate and reflect on its border areas, the coordinated project distributes the constitutive marginality of the literature of viceroyalties in two complementary lines: on the one hand, the analysis of what is peripheral, that is written, that is, on the boundaries of the official centrality and canonical inventories; and, on the other, the ephemeral entering into conflict with the immutability, the consubstantial permanence to the very concept of archive.