Normalizing Difference in a Colonial Regime: Indians and Imperial Uses of Ethnographic Knowledge in Latin America

AHA Session 92
Conference on Latin American History 19
Friday, January 6, 2012: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Erie Room (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Karen B. Graubart, University of Notre Dame
R. Douglas Cope, Brown University

Session Abstract

This panel investigates the intersection of race and ethnological thought in colonial Spanish and Creole writings on Indians and Africans in Latin America.  Examining the construction of difference in colonial juridical and scientific thought, the papers on this panel confront the role of race as a category of analysis in colonial commentary on nature, culture, and statecraft in Latin America.  Specifically  addressing recent debates over the adequacy of race as an intellectual category in writings on the Spanish empire, papers on this panel delineate representations of Indian savagery, exoticism, innocence, and corporeality as a means of understanding and defining early modern Spanish and Creole taxonomies of cultural difference in colonial Latin America.  Surveying studies of Indians in New Spanish and Peruvian urban centers and in the borderlands regions of Río de la Plata, Nueva Granada, and Northern Mexico, this panel addresses the importance and limitations of race as a category of analysis when examining power, knowledge, and constructions of difference in colonial Latin America.

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