History Department
History Department

Rafael Nieto-Bello

BA in History; BA in Political Science; Minor in Philosophy; Minor in German Language and Culture, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Rafael Nieto-Bello



History of Social Sciences, Intellectual History, History of Science, Latin America, Hispanic America, Early Modern Times, Ethnohistory, Political Thought, Relaciones Geográficas de Indias


Rafel Nieto-Bello is a second-year Ph.D. student in History. He holds a double major BA in Political Science and History from the Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). His approaches and interests cover an interdisciplinary range of concerns, such as social theory, ethics, political philosophy, epistemology of social science, and Latin American thought.

His research focuses on the 16th-Century Relaciones Geográficas and Topográficas of the Spanish Empire, exploring:

  • Imperial and local interests behind them.
  • Definitions of natural and human "objects of study" to know and describe.
  • Methodologies to claim knowledge and power over these lands.
  • Participation of local populations and communities in the processes of knowledge-making.

These issues help understand the articulation of these regions to the Hispanic Empire, the imperial ideology of "good government" and "profit" of the New World, the "ethnographic" description of customs of diverse native peoples, and the endeavors of standardizing systematic information.

He has worked in several cataloging processes of the archival heritage of Colombia and Hispanic America:

Rafael took part in creating the students' virtual journal Menocchio, promoting historical public debates and activism during the Peace deal process between FARC and the Colombian government. He has also participated in the initiative "Clase a la Casa" (Historias para lo que viene) as a panelist in live streaming events on public history of pandemics and their cultural consequences in medieval and early modern contexts. In addition, he has a personal blog (Aforística Transhistórica) on literary, historical, and philosophical brief essays and fiction (in Spanish).