Mauro J. Caraccioli is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science department, and Core Faculty in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT). He was trained in Political Theory, International Relations, and Interpretive Approaches to Politics, receiving a PhD in Political Science from the University of Florida in 2015. His specialty is the interplay of faith, nature, and empire in Colonial Spanish America, and his research highlights texts and encounters that broaden the cultural boundaries of New World intellectual production.
Currently he is working on a book manuscript, which is based on his dissertation, titled: “Of Nature and Other Demons: Missionary Science, New World Narratives, and the Future of Civilization.” This project examines the connections between Spanish Empire and naturalist narratives in Latin America. Specifically, he draws on works of natural history composed by Catholic missionaries that sought to broaden Europeans' empirical knowledge of the New World as part of a larger moral discourse to guide conquest and colonization. The book offers evidence for the larger claim that the experiences of sixteenth-century Spaniards, alongside their indigenous informants, laid the groundwork for the European Scientific Revolution and hence showcases a greater role for Latin American thought in the Western political canon.
An article drawn from this project, “The Learned Man of Good Judgment: Nature, Narrative, and Wonder in José de Acosta’s Natural Philosophy,” is forthcoming in the academic journal History of Political Thought.