Race and the Enlightenment in Colonial Mexico

Since the early sixteenth century, Mexico has been a multi-cultural and multi-racial society. How was such a diverse society understood and depicted during the "Age of Enlightenment" at the end of the colonial period? More specifically, how were eighteenth-century Western ideas about science, knowledge, and culture used, adapted, and transformed in "New Spain" (as colonial Mexico was then known)? How did such ideas relate to the lives of people living at the time, and how might they have affected the independence movement and Mexico's subsequent history as a nation-state? In addressing such questions, this seminar will explore Mexican history and culture as well as the global dimensions of the "Enlightenment." Participants will discuss primary sources, including visual images, and scholarship on these fascinating issues.