Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Lettered Mestizos, New Christians, and the Catholic Church: a Transatlantic Approach to the Exclusion and Defense of Mestizo Priests in Early Colonial Peru
by Cardenas, Alexander Marino, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2020, 418; 27996844
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation brings together a vast range of texts from the notarial and historiographical genres in the exploration of colonial subjectivities, political agencies, and discourses that were constructed in the negotiation of powers undertaken by Mestizos (the offspring of Spanish-Indian parents) and the Spanish Crown during the sixteenth century. From a transatlantic perspective and particularly in dialogue with Spanish King Philip II’s legislation for New Christians, my dissertation historicizes the racial discourse and exclusion imposed on Peruvian Mestizo priests in the early colonial period. It argues that the exclusion of Mestizo priests from the Church was influenced by the progressive implementation of the Spanish ideology of purity of blood in Spanish America. It also contends that lettered Mestizos challenged this part of the anti-Mestizo legislation and undermined the anti-Mestizo propaganda by using a variety of contestation strategies, which drew from pro-Indian intellectual movements and imperial ideologies related to the Catholic Reformation. After studying published and archival texts written by Mestizos, such as Blas Valera, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Blas de Atienza, Hernán González, Joan Ruiz, among others, my dissertation further demonstrates that by the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries Mestizos’ writings belonged to a network of texts that influenced each other and shared a particular discourse characterized by a tendency both to correct Spaniards’ denigrating depictions of Mestizos and Inca culture and to intervene in the colonial politics of evangelization on behalf of Mestizo priests. In particular, Mestizo texts in varying degrees engaged in invalidating the adaptation of the ideology of purity of blood to the colonial context, in fashioning a Tridentine Catholic identity for Mestizos, in assessing the ancient religion of Mestizos’ Indian mothers within the framework of proto-Christian Gentilism, and in projecting Mestizos as ideal doctrineros de indios, interpreters, and indigenous languages instructors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Prieto, Andres I.
Commitee: Baena, Julio, Mills, Kenneth, Silleras-Fernandez, Nuria, Elmore, Peter
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Spanish and Portuguese
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American history, Latin American literature, Religion
Keywords: History of the Church, Inca Historiography, Lettered Mestizos in Colonial Peru, Purity of Blood, Limpieza de sangre, Race Studies, Transatlantic Studies
Publication Number: 27996844
ISBN: 9798664761955
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