Rachel O'Toole

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online August 2011 | | DOI:

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  • History of the Americas
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Lower-status people and people of color in colonial Latin America, or the castas, as well as casta categories or terms that connoted a combination of race, class, gender, and sexuality and formed the basis of colonial hierarchies in colonial Latin America, have generated a great deal of scholarship. The term “castas” was employed by colonial authorities to describe working people and people of color and in contemporary usage can connote a colonialist perspective. First, in an effort to reclaim this term, this bibliography focuses on scholarship regarding the lives, religions, families, politics, and struggles of indigenous and African people and their descendants. While most work focuses primarily on either indigenous or African people, more recently historians have attempted to understand the relations between these (presumed) distinct populations. Second, this bibliography explores the so-called “caste” system that scholars have argued was not systematic or based on “caste.” Following the caste–class debates regarding how to quantify colonial distinctions according to race or class, Cope 1994 (cited under Cultural Approaches to Racial Hierarchies) has brought renewed scholarly attention to the constructed nature of colonial racial hierarchies. Recent publications focus on the distinctions of class, gender, and sexual practices to articulate boundaries between and among colonial Latin Americans. In addition to new scholarship on urban Indians and ethnic Africans in colonial Latin America, historians (and others) are attempting to understand the mechanics of colonial racism (Wade 2009, cited under General Overviews) that remain at the root of Spanish (and Portuguese, to a lesser extent) attempts to classify colonized and enslaved people into distinct categories while collapsing a wide range of differences into the hegemonic label of “castas.”

Article.  6696 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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