Justice by Artifacts and Transparencies: Scribes and Their Material Culture in 17th- and 18th-Century Peru and Chile

Friday, January 5, 2018: 8:50 AM
Madison Room A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Aude Argouse, Universidad de Chile
Scribes have been a permanent subject matter in Latin American history, because of the apparent constancy of their work in the administration of justice. However, legal history has focused on their role as judicial assistants, referring to them as secretaries. This paper examines the material conditions of their occupation both as secretaries and notaries, in different contexts: the Andean villa of Cajamarca, and the capital city of Santiago. Through the study of their material culture (archives and papers) within a large period of time, it calls into question the emergence of a specific notarial knowledge as a professional one in colonial contexts, and their investment in the transformation of their office so as it remained a crucial cog in the spread of colonial legal culture.