Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Coloniality, Religion, and the Law in the Early Iberian World

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Coloniality, Religion, and the Law in the Early Iberian World

Article excerpt

Coloniality, Religion, and the Law in the Early Iberian World. Edited by Santa Arias and Raul Marrero-Fente. [Hispanic Issues, Vol, 40.] (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. 2014. Pp. xxiv, 280. $34.95 paperback. ISBN 978-0-82651957-3.)

In collecting these essays, editors Santa Arias and Raúl Marrero-Fente seek to broaden and deepen our understanding of the roles played by the Catholic Church and various legal/political institutions in the production of coloniality. Looking beyond the formal codifications of the racial, social, and political orders imposed by Spain, the authors of these fourteen essays investigate a range of texts to reveal the complex discursive networks from which these hierarchies were constructed. In doing so, they make a significant contribution to the growing scholarship of the Iberian empire, in particular to our understanding of the formation of colonial identities and modes of thought within it.

The editors group the essays into the three categories of politics, religion, and law. Through careful explication of written and visual texts, the essays articulate the strategies used by colonizer and colonized to adapt existing modes of thought to changing circumstances. Some of the essays focus on texts by recognizably influential writers in the history of colonization such as José de Acosta and Bartolomé de las Casas; others examine lesser known artifacts and figures. Ezekial Stear, for example, closely reads selected episodes from the Anales de Juan Bautista to reveal the tangled responses of indigenous Nahua elites to Christianization and Spanish colonial policy in sixteenth-century New Spain. Ana M. Rodríguez-Rodríguez uses the Historia de Mindanao y Joló to examine how its author, the Jesuit Francisco de Combés, negotiated the jarring encounter between Spanish imperial identity and its Muslim Other during the conquest of the Philippines. …

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