Daniela Samur

Graduate Student


I am a historian of modern Latin America and am broadly interested in the relation between culture and power, spatial history and theory, and in ways of connecting history and fiction. In my research I focus on state formation, everyday political practice, urban history, print and material culture, and the global movement of objects.

Before coming to Cornell, I worked for four years at the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango (BLAA) in Bogotá, Colombia, curating exhibitions, and leading research projects, and cultural publications.

Research Focus

My dissertation, “Binding the State: Bogotá’s World of Prints, 1880s-1930s,” is a social history of print culture, state formation, and the making of urban spaces. By taking a material approach to prints, I center the social relations of production, exchange, and consumption, and make two main arguments. The first one refers to the materiality of statecraft. I contend that the processes of producing, amassing, ordering, and using paper forms and prints –ranging from letterheads to books– proved crucial in the articulation of a state-system as they made spaces and people legible and bestowed legitimacy upon the state. The second central argument refers to space and urban history. The practices of printing, reading, and writing at printing shops, bookstores, libraries, and offices shaped social and spatial relations in Bogotá, and were key for enthroning the city as the center of Colombia. Books and prints, ultimately, were the material by which the state was bound together and spatialized.

Based on archival research in Colombia, Spain, the United States, and England, my dissertation contributes to multidisciplinary conversations about the state and everyday political practice, the making of urban spaces, and the geographical hierarchies of state and region formation in the Andes, Latin America, and the wider Global South.

At Cornell, I work with Ray Craib, Ernesto Bassi, and Eric Tagliacozzo.

My research and writing have been supported by Cornell’s various programs and offices (History Department, Graduate School, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Programs, Institute of European Studies, Society for the Humanities), by the Bibliographical Society of America, and the Global Urban History Project. In 2021 I received the Deanne Gebell Gitner ’66 and Family Annual Prize for Teaching Assistants (2021). In the spring of 2023, I taught a seminar on the relation between language and power in cities in the Americas, and in the spring of 2024, I will be offering a cultural history of Latin America’s twentieth century through fútbol, beer, and reggaeton.


Review essays

“The Politics of Printing and Knowledge Production in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Itinerario, 2023, 1–10. doi:10.1017/S0165115323000037.

Book reviews

Review of Arbaiza, Diana, The Spirit of Hispanism: Commerce, Culture, and Identity across the Atlantic, 1875-1936. H-Atlantic, H-Net Reviews. December 2021. URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=56934

Exhibition Catalogues

Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango. De toda la gente: 25 años de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente: exposición itinerante with Ana María Ruiz, Laura Huérfano, and Juan Ignacio Arboleda. Bogotá: Banco de la República, 2016

HIST Courses - Spring 2024