Introducing: Ana Díaz Serrano
August 18, 2017
Welcome to Frankfurt, Dr. Díaz Serrano! Where are you from?
A. Díaz Serrano: I’m from Spain. I live and work in Murcia.
Could you tell us more about your academic career so far?
A. Díaz Serrano: I studied history at the University of Murcia, where I earned my doctorate in history after also studying in the doctoral programme in history at Pablo de Olavide University in Seville. I was a visiting postdoc scholar at El Colegio de México (2010), Stanford and Harvard (2012-2014). Recently, I taught at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City, and now I’m a researcher in the Department of History at the University of Murcia. Since 2005, I’ve also served as secretary of the professional organisation Red Columnaria, an international network of scholars working on the history of the Iberian monarchies.
Could you tell us more about your research project?
A. Díaz Serrano: During my stay at the MPIeR, I’ve been developing part of a three-year research project entitled ‘Hombres de Dios’ at the king’s service. Discourses, mediations and political practices in the early modern period. New Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries, which is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. This project continues my previous research about the functioning of multi-territorial political entities in the early modern period from a comparative perspective. I am currently investigating how American indigenous people received, understood and rethought European political cultures, creating their own discourses and practices as parts of global powers. I look for answers by analysing the transfers and translations of ideas and practices relating to governance, justice, social order and power. I pay attention to the indigenous elites and to the missionaries who acted as intermediaries in the indigenous communities dealing with and even confronting the imperial powers. Finally, I propose reflecting on mediation as a cornerstone of modern politics. A book will be published within four years.
Have you presented your research here at the Institute yet?
A. Díaz Serrano: I participated in the Guests Workshop on Law and Diversity: Legal Categories and Identity, coordinated by Lorena Ossio. It took place in May, a few weeks after I arrived at the MPIeR, so it was a perfect venue to exchange ideas and guide my work here during the following months.
How do you benefit from the Institute and the seminars it offers?
A. Díaz Serrano: The library is great, and it alone would be reason enough to come. However, I think the interdisciplinary and international environment is an even greater benefit. During my stay here I have come across aspects of legal history that I would not encounter working only on political and cultural history, which is my usual area of study.
In September you will go back to Murcia to research and teach. Will you stay connected to the Institute?
A. Díaz Serrano: Fortunately, I have been invited to write the entry on Iglesias (“Churches”) in the Historical Dictionary of Canon Law in Hispanic America and the Philippines, so I hope to return next year to present my results.
What book would you recommend as an introduction to your field of research?
A. Díaz Serrano: I recommend The Eagle and the Dragon: Globalization and European Dreams of Conquest in China and America in the Sixteenth Century, by Serge Gruzinski. I think it provides a great introduction to the meaning of global transfers from a historical perspective, even the debate about how Europe viewed (and thought about) the world.
And last but not least, what was the last book you enjoyed in your free time?
A. Díaz Serrano: The last book I enjoyed was Formas de volver a casa, by Alejandro Zambra. And also I want to mention Cien años de soledad, by Gabriel García Márquez, which I read some years ago, but it is my absolute favourite.