Join us Wednesday March 1 at 12pm in the IASH Conference Room (LN 1106, next to the LT elevators) for Giovanna Montenegro’s talk “German Bankers and the Conquest of Venezuela: Cultural Memory of ‘Heretic’ Capital and Colonization.”
Abstract: I seek to decipher fictional and historical texts that recreate the sixteenth-century German conquest of Venezuela by the Welsers, bankers from Augsburg. In particular, I analyze the cultural memory of the Welser period from a German perspective. In the German Imperial era and the early twentieth-century we see a proliferation of publications that manifest desire for lost colony (ies). “Venezuela” became a symbol for Germany’s enduring colonial desires, though this time the colonial utopia would take place in Africa. In the twentieth century, historians and novelists writing within Nationalist Socialism in Germany from 1938 to 1944 interpret the Welser period in a manner that further builds the image of the Aryan conquistador planting the seed of German nationhood on the American continent. The main subject is not the failure of the Welser colony; rather it is the honor of the German people and the myth of the grandness of the German nation that prevails.