Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft, and Caste in Colonial Mexico (Latin America Otherwise)

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9780822331476: Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft, and Caste in Colonial Mexico (Latin America Otherwise)
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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.

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Review:

"[A] great contribution to the study of religion and society in Latin America."
--R. Andrew Chesnut, "Latin American Research Review"

"[A] richly textured account of social differentiation and power in colonial Mexico."
--Elizabeth Emma Ferry, "Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History"

"[E]xtraordinary. . . . "Hall of Mirrors" is . . . a landmark that historians and cultural and literary critics can use to plot future scholarship."
--Daniel Torres, "Sixteenth Century Journal"

"[A] suggestive and often compelling work. [Lewis's] study is based on deeply nuanced readings of three hundred inquisition cases. . . ."
--Susan Deans-Smith," Bulletin of Latin American Research"

"[A]n original and honest attempt at examining a complex problem. . . . [P]rovides both historians and anthropologists with new issues for discussion and research."
--Gabriela Ramos, "Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute"

"Hall of Mirrors substantially adds to our understanding of colonialism in the New World. . . . [T]he author provides one of the most concise and clear discussions available concerning Spanish colonial concepts of race."
--Jim Norris, "History: A Review of Books"

"[H]ere is a densely written and argued book on a complex set of issues. . . . "Hall of Mirrors" stakes out new positions on debates regarding the "casta" system, gender, popular culture, and the dynamics of colonial power in New Spain."
--Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, "Itinerario"

"The supreme value of Hall of Mirrors . . . rests in its array of examples that afford a rich, textured view of life in and around Mexico City. . . . These stories are a welcome comlement to an already very interesting book."
--Susan Schroeder, Hispanic American Historical Review

"[A]n important ethnographic study. . . . The author provokes the reader to think of colonial society in new ways through her research, data and interpretation. This book is highly recommended to both students and scholars of colonial societies."
--Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"[A] very satisfying interpretation of witchcraft in colonial Mexico. . . . I strongly recommend this book to all those interested in the meaning of witchcraft, the nature of colonial power and the functioning of racial (or, as Lewis
would prefer) caste divisions in Spanish America."
--Rebecca Earle, "History"

From the Back Cover:

"A smart, sophisticated analysis of the cultural politics of caste, gender, and power in colonial Mexico, "Hall of Mirrors" is built upon a foundation of strong archival work with fascinating sources from the Mexican Inquisition."--Orin Starn, author of "Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes"

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9780822331117: Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft and Caste in Colonial Mexico (Latin America Otherwise)

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822331476

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822331476

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