Current Research Students


Virginia Ghelarducci -  headshot

Virginia Ghelarducci

Research Topic:  The Genesis of Natural History and Ethnology in Colonial Peru
Lead supervisor:  Prof. Linda Newson

Research Description

My dissertation project focuses on astrological medicine in early modern colonial Americas, particularly Peru. Through an analysis of printed sources published in Spanish America mainly in the 1600s and a comparison with other Iberian and European texts, my thesis explores how astrology, far from being considered a pseudo-science, played instead a central role in defining and informing medical practices in both Iberia and colonial Americas where traditional Hippocratic medicine encountered a new climate, a new natural environment and a new materia medica.

I have a background in Classics and Philosophy and I hold a BA in Philosophy and MA (with honours) in Philosophy and Forms of Knowledge both awarded from the University of Pisa, Italy.





Marilia Arantes Silva Moreira

Marília Arantes Silva Moreira

Research Topic:  ‘Antoine Rene Larcher’s ‘Project of expedition to Salvador (Brazil) 1797’ and the global competition for the South Atlantic’ 
Lead supervisor:  Prof. Linda Newson

Research Description

My thesis explores Antoine René Larcher’s microhistory to make sense of his ‘Project of expedition to Salvador 1797’, unearthed at the French Navy archives, in 1990. It contextualises the route of Larcher’s journey to Brazil in 1796, emphasising those aspects relevant to the case of the Bahian Conspiracy [Conjuração Bahiana] of 1798. Colonial historiography suggested that Larcher would provide evidence for an elitist stage of this social unrest, usually known as the Tailors’ Rebellion.

In 1797, peak of the French and British rivalry in the Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802), Larcher addressed his project to the French Ministry of the Navy and Colonies in the hope of garnering the French Navy support for a siege of Salvador by sea. Most significantly, the so-called ‘Larcher Project’ revealed that a republican coalition was being negotiated with influential members of the local elite that, in Larcher’s words, were willing to depose the Portuguese rule in Bahia.

My thesis analyses the so-called ‘Larcher Project’ from a wider context, considering a grand imperial competition for the South Atlantic, reading Brazil from its ‘historical-geographical complex’, through which it held intrinsically connected to the Indian Ocean. New documents on Larcher and his activities are indicative of intensifying oceanic interconnections during the 1790s. While South Atlantic maritime currents integrated the West African coast, this boom of circulations strengthened the Portuguese ancient route to Asia Carreira da India also sustaining Salvador as a key hub, thereby influencing political events. By these means, my thesis sheds lights on veiled interests behind the Bahian Conspiracy (1798), revealing global prospections of a local elite group.





Carlos Piccone Camere  headshot

Carlos Piccone Camere

Research Topic:  Beyond the Bulls: The Life and Afterlives of St. Francisco Solano. Unravelling the First Canonisation Process in the New World and its Unpredictable Fade into Oblivion
Lead supervisor:  Prof. Linda Newson

Research Description

This thesis focuses on the canonisation process of St. Francisco Solano (Montilla, 1549 – Lima 1610), the first one proposed from the New World. The so-called ‘Apostle of America’ was one of the most emblematic members of the Franciscan family in colonial Peru. Indeed, he possessed within himself all the typical characteristics required to be promoted into the Roman Catholic Church as an authentic fruit of holiness ripened in the vineyards of the New World – a zealous missionary preacher with thaumaturgical powers.

During the first two decades after Solano’s death, his canonisation process made remarkable progress, especially because of the abundance of testimonies that attested to his miraculous mediation. Everything suggested that America would soon have its first saint. Nonetheless, his canonisation process was delayed and a series of political, political, economic, ecclesiastical, and social events would conspire so that the “first flower of sanctity” of the New World became Rosa de Lima, a Dominican tertiary, mystic and ascetic criolla. It took 126 years before Solano was canonised; that is, more than fifty years after the canonisation of St. Rosa, whose process had begun later. Therefore, through research in the diverse archives of the Vatican, Spain and Peru, one of the goals of this thesis is to explore the reasons behind this amazing sorpasso.





Tatiana Suarez_ headshot

Tatiana Suarez

Research Topic:  Life After Insurgency: The Reincorporation of Excombatants in Colombia after the 2016 Peace Agreement
Lead supervisor:  Dr Ainhoa Montoya

Research Description

My research explores the collective reincorporation process of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after the 2016 Peace Agreement which ended a five-decade armed conflict. I draw on the idea that, rather than “assimilation” or “re-entry” into society, the guerrilla group had a different aim when negotiating the peace agreement, which involved reconverting the different forms of capital accumulated during the war to advance their revolutionary project. My thesis thus argues that more than achieving sustainable livelihoods and peaceful coexistence –traditionally, the international peacebuilding approach to excombatant reincorporation– the FARC post-conflict project was based on maintaining the group’s cohesion and influence in order to consolidate their position as a democratic force. 

Based on fieldwork in one reincorporation area, I seek to examine how former guerrilla combatants have imagined, experienced and made sense of their collective reincorporation and various post-insurgency adaptation processes in the immediate aftermath of conflict. The thesis also aims to investigate how the insurgents’ ideology and revolutionary project as well as the FARC’s relations vis-à-vis local communities and state institutions have shaped their reincorporation experience since 2016. 


Mario Grana headshot

Mario Graña

Research Topic:  Nueva Toledo On Display: The Politics, Theatre and Paperwork of Making War on the Chiriguanaes through the punitive expeditions of Almendras, Toledo and Lozano Machuca (1564-1586).
Lead supervisor:  Prof. Mark Thurner.

Research Description

To follow  


Emanual Kingsley

Emanuel Kingsley

Research Topic:  From Old City to Colonial Zone: The Thematized Reinvention of Santo Domingo’s Historic City Center, 1930-1992.
Lead supervisor:  Dr Claudia Murray

Research Description

Emanuel is a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Latin American Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London). His doctoral dissertation surveys, from a historical studies perspective, the conception, restoration, and promotion of the historic center of Santo Domingo—the first European city in the Americas, and the former viceregal capital of a then-nascent Spanish Empire. For the first time, heretofore uninvestigated issues of causality, methodology, and authenticity determining the creation of the district from 1930 to 1992 will be explored, with the aim of critically interpreting how and why these interventions created a stylistically-unified, purposefully-cultivated atemporal colonial space at the service of nationalist ideals and tourist consumption.