PhD Candidate Morgan Gunther presented a paper on Monday, April 8th, at the fifth annual UCF Celebrates the Arts, a showcase of performers, artists, exhibits, and lectures. Her paper “The Re-Form of Imperial Coloniality: Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rican Urbanismo and Gobernanza” was featured in the session The Art of Puerto Rico: El Arte Puertorriqueño, which investigates Puerto Rican art from the colonial to the contemporary period. In her paper, Morgan separates Puerto Rican art from its Eurocentric roots, focusing on the reform of space during the nineteenth century: on one hand, the political reform that Governors imposed on the island, the Bandos de Policía y Buen Gobierno, which mirrored the Bourbon Reforms in Spain during the period, and on the other, the structural formation and renovation that subsequently took place following the implementation of reform. Reform, Morgan argues, was the vehicle through which the Spanish exercised imperial power. Considering various architectural structures and sites, the paper provides an overview into the material construction of power in the nineteenth century.
Morgan’s research interests center on the material culture and architecture of Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in Puerto Rico. Her research seeks to answer questions regarding imperial place-making during the Bourbon Reforms and the performativity and display of power. Under the direction of Professor Paul Niell, Morgan’s dissertation, “Architecture, Urban Space, and Imperial Power: The Construction of Colonial Administration and Reform in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico” will address colonial subjectivity and architectural performativity in nineteenth-century Puerto Rico.