New Directions in Colonial Latin American History

An issue of: Hispanic American Historical Review

New Directions in Colonial Latin American History
Journal Issue Pages: 200 Volume 96, Number 3 Published: August 2016 An issue of Hispanic American Historical Review
Special Issue Editor(s): John D. French, Jocelyn H. Olcott, Pete Sigal
This issue builds upon existing interpretations of colonial Latin American history by challenging how we understand knowledge production. By looking at the production of subjectivity in the eighteenth-century Mexican archive, María Elena Martínez’s contribution makes bold claims about what archival practices can and cannot tell us about the history of sexuality in colonial Latin America. Focusing on the case of Mariano Aguilera, an individual who identified, based on notions related to biology and aesthetics, as a man, Martínez conceptualizes queerness as discursive and performative. Jeffrey A. Erbig Jr.’s piece shows that the creation of borders was not solely an imperial imposition but rather a complex negotiation between indigenous caciques, local leaders, and governments. Amara Solari’s article argues that discourses on idolatry and disease were intimately connected, as friars and priests used visceral rhetoric related to the diseased body in order to emphasize the struggle to combat idolatry. Finally, in their essay, Yanna Yannakakis and Martina Schrader-Kniffki show that local indigenous officials in seventeenth-century Oaxaca used indigenous history and the rules of Christianity to formulate legal arguments, manipulating the colonial structure based on their own local traditions. The criminal records that they created formed part of a larger system of knowledge produced by Catholic clerics, interpreters, and Spanish officials. We invite readers to participate in a forum based on Martínez’s article and to view the interactive maps supplementing Erbig’s piece, both of which will be published concurrently with this special issue at


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