The Paradox of Kinship

Erika Pérez

in On the Borders of Love and Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780520272385
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520951341 | DOI:
The Paradox of Kinship

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This chapter explores the ways in which the Catholic institution of godparentage (compadrazgo) shaped and was shaped by interethnic encounters and relations in Alta California in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The author begins with a review of marriage and kinship practices among California Indians prior to European contact. She then examines the variety of ways in which compadrazgo was interpreted, experienced, negotiated, and transformed by Spanish and Mexican colonizers and by Native peoples. Finally, she considers the role of Christianized Baja Indians in mediating colonial power for the Indians of Alta California. The author argues that compadrazgo embodied contradictions, accelerating Hispanicization while also providing narrow openings for continuity in Native kinship practices and gender roles.

Keywords: godparentage; compadrazgo; Alta California; Baja California; kinship; Indians; Spanish; Mexican; colonial

Chapter.  11277 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Local and Family History

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