José Emilio BURUCUA

History, Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Argentina

Fellowship : October to December 2018 as Associate Fellow ( former Fellowships October to December 2017 and October 2015 to June 2016 )

Discipline(s) : History

Pays : Argentina

Research Project

Two posthumous books by Italo Calvino (Lezioni americane: sei proposte per il prossimo millennio, 1988, Perché leggere i classici, 1991) reassure us about the interest and validity that could be found in an attempt to construct an aesthetic history of six useful ideas for the 21st century, namely: humanity, finitude, beauty, truth, forgiveness and hope. The aim is to situate the development of each idea using aesthetic objects – images produced by painting, photography or cinema, the sounds of music, the sounds and meanings of poetry - within the framework of western cultures, without excluding the possibility of exploring other horizons of civilization, such as Hindustani and African, given the presence of colleagues specialised in these fields at the Institute. For each idea, we have chosen a specific field of aesthetic production (but this is liable to change as the project progresses): images for humanity and truth, poetry for finitude and forgiveness, and music for beauty and hope. Initial goals: to put together exhibitions over a three-year period on three of the six ideas selected and to gather critiques, coincidences or refutations which colleagues have been able to draw from their own fields of study, i.e. sociological theory and practice, anthropology, philosophical systems and old and new branches of historiography.


Born in 1946 in Buenos Aires, José Emilio BURUCUA obtained a PhD in History of Arts from Buenos Aires University in 1985. He was full Professor of Modern History In the same institution from 1986 until 2004. From April 2001 to April 2004, he was Director of the Institute of Theory and History of the Arts "Julio E. Payró" (School of Philosophy, Buenos Aires University). From 2004 onwards, he has been full professor of Problems of Cultural History at the National University of San Martín (UNSAM), where he led the Master’s Program of Art History from 2004 to 2008. He has published books and papers on the history of perspective, the historical relationships among images, ideas, techniques and materials of colonial painting in South America.

Visiting professor at the universities of Oviedo (Spain) and Cagliari (Italy), Directeur d’Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1999, 2000, 2005), Winter Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, California) in 2006, Gastwissenschaftler at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz during winter 2007, visiting professor at the Collège de France (2008, 2013), Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in the academic year 2012-2013 and Fellow at the IAS-Nantes in 2015-2016. He is a member of the National Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires. He is the director of Eadem utraque Europa, a magazine published by the Centre for Cultural and Intellectual History "Edith Stein" at the National University of San Martín (UNSAM). On 8th November 2016 he also became a member of the National Academy of History (Argentina).


Research Project (2015-2016): "A Translation of the Baldus into Contemporary Spanish Macaronic, Learned and Popular at the Same Time"

The Macaronic language is a verbal hybrid that produced a unique and extremely rich literature, first in Italy, but quickly expanded in Spain and France during the 16th century. The master piece of the genre was the Baldus, written by Teofilo Folengo under the name of Merlino Cocai, published in four different editions between 1517 and 1552. It seems that a translation of the Baldus into a contemporary Macaronic, assembled with learned Latin and a modern language commonly spoken today, has not been approached until now. The project to be done at the IEA in Nantes points to the fulfillment of such kind of translation into Spanish Macaronic, attached to a complete translation of the same text into current Spanish. The Macaronic language was an emblematic device, like pedantic style, for the late phase, critical and exasperated, of the conflict between the pagan-classical and the Christian cultural horizons that the Aby Warburg’s school considered a main issue in the interpretation of the historical phenomenon of the Renaissance. This work will be located half-way down the path from literature to history, from phantastic writing to philological and cultural accuracy, from the actual Babel to the erudtion of the past.

Major publications


2014. “Cómo sucedieron estas cosas”. Representar masacres y genocidios. En collaboration avec Nicolás Kwiatkowski, Buenos Aires, Katz, 2014.

2013. El mito de Ulises en el mundo moderno. Buenos Aires, Eudeba, Prix National d’Essai 2010-2014.

2011. Enciclopedia B-S. Un experimento de historiografía satírica. Cáceres (España), Periférica.

2011. Historia de la Caricatura. En collaboration avec Nicolás Kwiatkowski, Francis Grose, Buenos Aires, Katz.

2003. Historia, arte, cultura. De Aby Warburg, a Carlo Ginzburg, Buenos Aires, Fondo de Cultura Económica.


2014. “The Absent Double: Representations of the Disappeared”. En collaboration avec Nicolás Kwiatkowski, New Left Review, nº 87, pp. 97-113.