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Ernesto Bassi Arevalo

Associate Professor


My research interests coalesce around two significant questions: How do people develop geographic and cultural identifications? How do geographic regions come into being? In particular, I am interested in the role circulation (of goods, people, news, and ideas) across political boundaries plays in the configuration of geographic spaces, collective identities, geopolitical projects, and political allegiances.

I explore these themes from a Latin American and Caribbean perspective, especially by looking at the process of configuration of a transimperial Greater Caribbean geographic space during the Age of Revolutions (1750s-1850s). My first book, An Aqueous Territory, examines the configuration of a transimperial Greater Caribbean and its inhabitants’ geopolitical imagination through a study of the role of sailors in the creation of a regional space and the multiplicity of ways in which less mobile (but by no means static) subjects, including autonomous indigenous groups, sugar planters, military adventurers, and nation makers, experienced the region sailors created.

My broader interests include inter-imperial rivalry and collaboration in the Caribbean, hemispheric connections and mobilities, the history of late colonial and early national Latin American countries (especially Colombia and its Caribbean region), indigenous-European encounters in the Caribbean Basin, cosmopolitan Indians, the development of plantation societies in the Caribbean, the flow of ideas, people, and commodities across the Atlantic Ocean, and the role of oceans in world history.


  • Africana Studies and Research Center
  • History
  • Romance Studies

Graduate Fields

  • History
  • Africana Studies
  • Romance Studies


  • Latin American Studies Program (LASP)


Spring 2020

Fall 2020


  • An Aqueous Territory: Sailor Geographies and New Granada’s Transimperial Greater Caribbean World (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016).
  • “The Franklins of Colombia: Immigration Schemes and Hemispheric Solidarity in the Making of a Civilised Colombia,” Journal of Latin American Studies 50, 3 (August 2018): 673-701.
  • “Neither a Spanish nor U.S. Lake: The Caribbean, a Region in Its Own Right,” The American Historian (May 2018): 27-33.
  • “Enabling, Implementing, Experiencing Entanglement: Empires, Sailors, and Coastal Peoples in a British-Spanish Southern Caribbean Milieu, 1780s-1810s,” in Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra (ed.), Entangled Empires: The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), 217-235.
  • “Much More than the Half Has Never Been Told: Narrating the Rise of Capitalism from New Granada’s Shores,” The Latin Americanist 61, 4 (December 2017): 529-550.
  • "The Space Between,” The Appendix 2, 4 (December 2014).
  • “Beyond Compartmentalized Atlantics: A Case for Embracing the Atlantic from Spanish American Shores,” History Compass 12, 9 (2014): 704-716.


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