Working on the history of Peruvian business history at the Bodleian

My experience as an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford’s Latin American Centre (LAC) was very productive. It allowed me to pursue my research into the development of Peruvian business systems between 1890-2010, and the mechanisms for technology transfer and the development of the Peruvian patent system between 1896 and 1930.

martin monsalve


The study of Latin American economic development and business groups has a long history in the United Kingdom, particularly at the LAC. This has helped my research in two ways. Firstly, it has allowed me to situate the case of Peru in both the Latin American and global context. Secondly, I have been able to use the LAC and Bodleian libraries to access a number of key primary sources.


Moreover, I have been able to access new primary sources in the Bodleian Library Special Collection, including correspondence between the first representative of ‘The Peruvian Corporation’, Clinton Dawkins, and Alfred Milner. In addition, the Marconi Archives have been useful for my research on technology and patents. My stay in Oxford has also allowed me to visit other archives, including ‘Unilever Art, Archives and Record Management’. These source have been key to my current research and future work, and I am particularly grateful to Rory Miller for his suggestions and insight in this regard.


In addition, the LAC offers visiting researchers two key opportunities to interact with Latin Americanists in Oxford, the United Kingdom and Europe. These are the Latin American Seminar and the Latin American History Seminar. Both allow Academic Visitors to meet distinguished Latin Americanists and have interdisciplinary discussion of recent research. In addition, at the Latin American History Seminar I was able to share the results of my research into patents and technology transfer in Peru at the start of the 20th century.


The LAC also facilitates links with other researchers in Oxford and the United Kingdom and joint projects on topics related to Latin American business and economic history. A good example was the Colloquium on the Latin American Debt Crisis of 1982. This was organised by  Sebastián Alvarez , St. Hildas College, with help from Rory Miller, University of Liverpool; C. Edoardo Altamura, Graduate Institute, Geneva and Lund University; and myself, representing the Universidad del Pacífico, Lima. A key benefit of this colloquium was the opportunity for academics and students to interact with David Thomas (Lloyds Bank), Kent Atkinson (Lloyds Banks) y  Antonio Celia (Promigas).  It is testimony to the LAC’s ability to facilitate such links that this event received support from The UPIER project, St Hilda's College; The Malcom-Daes Fund - St Antony's College and the Latin American Centre; the Global History of Capitalism Project; and the University of Liverpool Management School. 


In summary, my time as a Visiting Academic at the LAC has been extremely productive in allowing me to interact with the academic community and develop my research. I am grateful to everyone at the LAC.