Symposium on Latin America in the Early Colonial Period | Newberry

Symposium on Latin America in the Early Colonial Period

Map with Nahuatl glyphs, 16th century. Newberry Ayer MS 1903.

Map with Nahuatl glyphs, 16th century. Newberry Ayer MS 1903. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

9 am to 3 pm

Ruggles Hall

Keynote speaker: Laura Matthew, Marquette University
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Early Modern Studies Program

This symposium aims to explore the complexities of Latin America during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, grappling with the multiple perspectives of the many Indigenous and European cultures involved in this time of contact and conflict.

This is a hybrid program, with two scholarly sessions in the morning and a public keynote address in the afternoon.

Papers for the morning sessions will be precirculated to those who register to attend, and the authors will not read the papers. They will talk briefly about their research projects, followed by prepared commentary, with the bulk of the time given to discussion among the panelists and with the audience.

Download a printable PDF flyer to post and distribute.


8:30. Coffee and continental breakfast

Scholarly sessions (discussion of precirculated papers)

9 – 10:30. Session 1: New Actors and Mediators in Colonial Peru and New Spain

Chair: Patricia Marroquin Norby, Director, The D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, Newberry Library

Who Speaks for the Indians? Lima, Spain, and the Rise of an Indigenous Urban Elite

José Carlos de la Puente Luna, History, Texas State University

History, Rhetoric, and Strategy in the Early Colonial Andean Litigation, 1552-1574

Renzo Honores, History, High Point University

“Love” Lost: A Nahua Historian’s View of Shifting Social Relations among Indigenous Nobles, Commoners, and Their Others in Colonial Tlaxcala

Kelly McDonough, Spanish, University of Texas at Austin

The Fabric of Urban Slavery: Textiles, Conviviality, and Abuse in Colonial Puebla

Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva, History, University of Rochester

Comment: Sherwin K. Bryant,African American Studies and History, Northwestern University

10:30 – 11. Coffee break

11 – 12:30. Session 2: Religion and Conversion in New Spain

Chair: Seonaid Valiant, Ayer Reference Librarian, Newberry Library

The Writing of Memory in Sixteenth Century Peru

Catalina Andrango-Walker, Spanish, Virginia Tech

Visualizing Corporate Piety: The Art of Religious Brotherhoods in New Spain

Cristina Cruz González, Art History, Oklahoma State University

Bad Bishops and Demonic Dominicans: Franciscan Visual Violence in the Colonial Andes

Jaime Lara, Art History, Arizona State University

The Trans-Oceanic Flight of the Soul: The Translation of Mystic Language in Mexico

Dale Shuger, Spanish, Tulane University

Comment: Lisa Voigt, Spanish, Ohio State University

12:30 – 2. Lunch break

Public lecture

2 – 3. Keynote address

A Tale of Two Bigamists: Atlantic and Other Worlds in Early Colonial Latin America

Laura E. Matthew, History, Marquette University

At the turn of the seventeenth century, two men living in southern Mesoamerica were accused of bigamy. Dionisio de Vargas, a native of Sevilla, Spain, married his first wife in the Philippines and then moved to Oaxaca. Gaspar Pérez, a native of Huamelula, Oaxaca, left his first wife in their hometown while he worked and lived in Guatemala. The overlapping trajectories of Dionisio’s and Gaspar’s lives speak to their embeddedness in a world we might (loosely, in this case) term “Atlantic.” But the differences between their cases are stark, and suggest that the capacious, fluid terms of the Atlantic World can sometimes obscure other ways of thinking about space that may better explain people’s lives in early colonial Latin America.

This symposium is sponsored by the Center for Renaissance Studies, with the cosponsorship of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, the Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture, and the Newberry Department of Continuing Education.

Art Institute of Chicago Exhibition

The Art Institute’s exhibition A Voyage to South America: Andean Art in the Spanish Empire, opened November 11, 2014, and will continue through February 21, 2016. Featuring works from a Chicago-based private collection, as well as loans from the Newberry Library and the Denver Art Museum, the installation is accompanied by a bilingual brochure, bilingual Acoustiguide stops, and an interactive digital application.

Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Cost and Registration Information 

This program is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration in advance is required. Papers for the morning sessions will be precirculated electronically to registrants.

Registration is now closed.