Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft, and Caste in Colonial Mexico / Edition 1

Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft, and Caste in Colonial Mexico / Edition 1

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Duke University Press Books
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Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft, and Caste in Colonial Mexico / Edition 1

Through an examination of caste in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Mexico, Hall of Mirrors explores the construction of hierarchy and difference in a Spanish colonial setting. Laura A. Lewis describes how the meanings attached to the categories of Spanish, Indian, black, mulatto, and mestizo were generated within that setting, as she shows how the cultural politics of caste produced a system of fluid and relational designations that simultaneously facilitated and undermined Spanish governance.

Using judicial records from a variety of colonial courts, Lewis highlights the ethnographic details of legal proceedings as she demonstrates how Indians, in particular, came to be the masters of witchcraft, a domain of power that drew on gendered and hegemonic caste distinctions to complicate the colonial hierarchy. She also reveals the ways in which blacks, mulattoes, and mestizos mediated between Spaniards and Indians, alternatively reinforcing Spanish authority and challenging it through alliances with Indians. Bringing to life colonial subjects as they testified about their experiences, Hall of Mirrors discloses a series of contradictions that complicate easy distinctions between subalterns and elites, resistance and power.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822331476
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 09/05/2003
Series: Latin America Otherwise
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Note on Sources xiii

Introduction 1

1. Forging a Colonial Landscape: Caste in Context 15

2. The Roads Are Harsh: Spaniards and Indians in the Sanctioned Domain 46

3. La Mala Yerba: Putting Difference to Work 67

4. From Animosities to Allegiances: A Segue into the World of Witchcraft 95

5. Authority Reversed: Indians Ascending 103

6. Mapping Unsanctioned Power 132

7. Hall of Mirrors 167

Notes 185

Works Cited 235

Index 255

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