Tamar Herzog

Tamar Herzog

Fellow: Awarded 2012
Field of Study: European and Latin American History

Competition: US & Canada

Stanford University

Tamar Herzog is professor of History at Stanford University, where she is also affiliated faculty member in the Law School. She earned her Ph.D. at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France) in 1994, having previously obtained an M.A. in Latin American studies and a Law degree (B.A., L.L.B.) at the Hebrew University (Jerusalem, Israel) in 1990 and 1987, respectively.  Before she joined the faculty at Stanford, Herzog taught at the University of Chicago, as well as in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Complutense (Madrid), and Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University in Israel, where she is also a member of the Bar. Visiting professor at the EHESS and the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, she was a Jean Monnet Fellow in the European University Institute (2000-2001), a Member at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton (1996-7), and a Yad Hanadiv Fellow (1995-7). Author of four monographs, the co-editor of three books, and the author of some seventy articles published in the U.S.A., Canada, U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and Israel, her work centers on the relationship between Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, and the ways by which European society had changed as a result of its involvement in a colonial project. 

She is currently working on a new book manuscript that examines the historical formation of a border between Spain and Portugal in both Europe and the Americas during the early modern period (fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries). It contends that although the border was often discussed by monarchs, diplomats, and military men, it was mainly fixed in day-to-day interactions among neighbors and neighboring communities, each struggling to affirm its particular rights. Because deciding what you could do where depended, to a large degree, on who you were, this struggle not only involved the definition of space, but also required the definition of people. For individuals and communities, territorial divisions were meaningful because they defined where their animals could pasture, where they could collect fruits or wood, whom they could (legally) trade with, and which territories they could roam. Rather than known or artificially declared, territorial divisions were experienced. Penetration to a territory that others considered their own could (although not always did) produce a sanction. Knowing what you could do where was also generated by observing others respecting these divisions or by listening to stories about what happened when they did not. Whether marked on the ground or not (most were not), whether consecrated by treaties or formal documents (most were not), such were the borders between Spain and Portugal in both Europe and the Americas until the late nineteenth century, perhaps beyond. Structured by questions such as how territory was used, how use changed, how notions of property and jurisdiction varied, which were the local customs, and how membership in the community was defined, as well as constantly changed, it is only by looking at these local interactions that we can begin to comprehend how territorial divisions were created in the past.  


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