Aesthetic and Design of Latin American Technology

History of technology is a relatively young field in Latin America and thus the engagement with Latin American technological aesthetics and design has received scant scholarly attention. Scholarship on the history of technology in Latin America has largely focused on the embrace or rejection and/or appropriation and domestication of imported and native technologies through a textual reading of sources, leaving aesthetic rendering of these processes outside historical inquiry. This working group, in preparation of an edited volume, begins to correct this by bringing together perspectives examining the tensions between technology, design and aesthetics by analyzing state modernization projects for the urban and rural environments and individual users who reimagined or reconfigured the aesthetics of technological devices as these were domesticated in their context of use.  By combining these two scales, the scholars in the working group will not only contribute to current discussions on the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries but also (1) explore how they informed and are informed by the politics of design and aesthetics (2) underline the way these imaginaries are not only textual but visual and aural, (3) and, how users altered and reinvented the aesthetics/design of technological devices to meet their cultural and personal values, needs and desires.

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Upcoming Meetings

  • Thursday, September 8, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT


  • Thursday, October 13, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT


  • Thursday, November 10, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST


  • Thursday, December 8, 2022 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST


  • Thursday, January 12, 2023 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST


  • Thursday, February 9, 2023 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST


  • Thursday, March 9, 2023 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST


  • Thursday, April 13, 2023 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT


  • Thursday, May 11, 2023 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT


Past Meetings

  • June 23, 2022

    October 13, 2022

    • Presenter #1-Yohad Zacarias, University of Texas. Austin. The aesthetics of lighting and electrical substations and the unequal extension of technology in urban space. Santiago de Chile. 1900-1930.
    • Presenter #2-Lucas Erichsen. Places for a first and last look: slaughterhouses, aesthetics, and technology in 19th Brazil


  • May 26, 2022

    Leida Fernandez-Prieto, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, “Mute Witnesses:  Mapping the Meanings of the Images on the History of Cuban Agriculture”
    To be rescheduled for Fall 2022. David Pretel (on parental leave, sp22), Pompeu Fabra University, “Green Gold Modernity: Machines, Peonage and Henequen in Yucatan’s Gilded Age”

  • March 24, 2022

    #1-Lisa Munro, Independent Scholar. "Collecting Souvenirs Close to Home: The Politics of the Machine Production of Authentic Indigenous Aesthetics for Mass Consumption." She has published some of her work at
    #2-Peter Soland, Southeast Missouri State University, "Aerial Shots and Bomber Jackets: The Role of Aviation, Celebrity, and Cinema in Re-Imagining Latin America."


  • February 24, 2022

    #1-Fabián Prieto-Nanez, Virginia Tech, “The Invastion of Satellite Antennas. Autoconstruction and the Routes of Popular Electronics in Latin America"
    #2-Sonia Robles, University of Delaware, "Aural and material obstructions to technological development in Mexico"

  • January 27, 2022

    #1-David Dalton, UNC Charlotte, “Eduardo Urzaiz's novel, Eugenia and the Interface of aesthetics and science in constructing eugenics in postrevolutionary Mexico”
    #2-Lucas Izquierdo, Independent Scholar, “Analogue Technologies: the novel genre’s virtualization of Peru in Arguedas, Vargas Llosa & Roncagliolo”

  • October 28, 2021

    Diana Montaño, Washington University in St. Louis, "Development is Modernity + Rural Electrification: The Aesthetic of Latin American Electricscapes"
    Daniel Rebouças, Universidade Federal da Bahia Brasil, “Aesthetics of Electricity in Bahia”

  • September 23, 2021


    • Yovanna Pineda, University of Central Florida, "Gendered spaces/representations of machine design and repair in Argentina, 20th Century"
    • Dafne Cruz Porchini, Researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM, “Fermín Revueltas fresco Alegoría de la productividad (1934)”

    Agenda (updated 9/5/21)

    • 1:00pm-1:15pm  -   Introductions
    • 1:15pm-1:20pm  -   Race & Tech. Announcement
    • 1:20pm-1:50pm  -  Speaker (Yovanna) presentation + QA/comments 
    • 1:50pm 2:20pm  -  Speaker (Dafne) presentation + QA/comments
    • 2:20pm-2:30pm -  Discussion: "What is your idea of aesthetics and design?"


Group Conveners

  • LucasIzquierdo's picture

    Lucas Izquierdo

    Dr. Lucas Izquierdo is an independent scholar. His research activities include publications in Modern Language Notes, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, A Contracorriente; Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, and Revista de Estudios Hispánicos. Dr. Izquierdo has presented at international conferences in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Oxford-UK, Peru, and Poland. He has presented nationally at conferences held at Georgetown University, Tufts University, Brown University, University of Kentucky, and the Latin American Studies Association.


  • Dmontano's picture

    Diana J. Montaño

    Diana J. Montaño is Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her teaching and research interests broadly include the construction of modern Latin American societies with a focus on technology and its relationship to nationalism, everyday life, and domesticity. Her first book Electrifying Mexico looks at how "electrifying agents" (businessmen, salespersons, inventors, doctors, housewives, maids, and domestic advisors) used electricity, both symbolically and physically, in the construction of a modern nation. Taking a user-based perspective, Dr. Montaño reconstructs how electricity was lived, consumed, rejected, and shaped in everyday life ( For her articles on the intersection of humor and class in streetcar accidents see History of Technology ( -) and  Technology's Stories ( For her HAHR article on power theft in turn-of-the-century Mexico see


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