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Week 7: Intimacy and Mestizaje

This week we take a closer look at the intimate relationships that characterised colonial societies, focusing on the intricacies of gender, power, violence, sexuality, and race that shaped the lives of women and men engaged in or born from mixed unions. We will compare the case of a young South African woman in the service of a Dutch commander to accounts of indigenous women servants in Spanish America. In addition, we will consider representations of mestizo communities in Mexico and Goa. LINK.

Required Readings

Julia C. Wells, 'Eva's Men: Gender and Power at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-74', The Journal of African History 39.3 (1998): 417-437. Link.

Nancy van Deusen, 'The Intimacies of Bondage: Female Indigenous Servants and Slaves and their Spanish Masters, 1492-1555', Journal of Women's History 24.1 (2012), pp. 13-43. Link.

Primary Sources (select one)

Linschoten, Jan Huygen van, Arthur Coke Burnell and P.A. Tiele (eds.), The Voyage of John Huyghen van Linschoten to the East Indies from the old English Translation of 1598 (2 vols. London: Hakluyt Society, 1885), Vol. I, Ch. 29 and Ch. 31, pp. 183-192; 205-217. Link.

'Las Castas', anonymous painter, Mexico, 18th century. Read: Lauren G. Kilroy-Ewbank, 'Spaniard and Indian Produce a Mestizo, attributed to Juan Rodriguez'.

Seminar Questions

- Julia C. Wells states that Eva's life reflects 'the frustrations and limitations a transcultural person faced' (418). (How) can her case help us understand the experiences of ‘transcultural’ people more generally?

- How did contemporaries view Eva/Krotoa and how has her story been read by modern audiences?

- What are the larger themes Krotoa/Eva’s case shines light on?

- Compare the nexus of intimacy and violence in Krotoa's story to that of the cases recounted by Van Deusen: what accounts for the differences?

- What do the sources studied by Van Deusen reveal about the roles and agency of indigenous women in early Spanish colonial society?

- How does Jan Huygen van Linschoten represent the Lusophone community of Goa and what are his views on mestizaje?

- Observe Las Castas: what messages about interracial intimacy and mixed race societies does this and other casta paintings convey?

- In what ways can you relate Linschoten's 16th-century text on Goa to 18th-century casta paintings from Mexico?

Further Reading

Blussé, Leonard, Bitter Bonds: A Colonial Divorce Drama of the Seventeenth Century (Markus Wiener Publishers, 2002).

Burton, Antoinette, and Tony Ballantyne (eds.), Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2005).

Dalrymple, William, White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India (London: Harper Perennial, 2002).

Earle, Rebecca, 'The Pleasures of Taxonomy: Casta Paintings, Classification, and Colonialism', The William and Mary Quarterly 73.3 (2016), pp. 427-466.

Furtado, Júnia Ferreira, Chica da Silva: a Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Gruzinski, Serge, The Mestizo Mind: The Intellectual Dynamics of Colonization and Globalization (New York: Routledge, 2002).

Herrera, Robinson A.,‘Concubines and Wives: Reinterpreting Native-Spanish Intimate Unions in Sixteenth-Century Guatemala’, in: Matthew, Laura E., and Michel R. Oudijk (eds.), Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest of Mesoamerica (University of Oklahoma Press, 2007), pp. 127-144.

Kamps, Ivo, ‘Colonizing the Colonizer: A Dutchman in Asia Portuguesa’, in: Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna G. Singh (eds.), Travel Knowledge: European “Discoveries” in the Early Modern Period (New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 160-183.

Katzew, Ilona, Casta Painting: Images of Race in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005).

Mangan, Jane E., ‘Moving Mestizos in Sixteenth-Century Peru: Spanish Fathers, Indigenous Mothers, and the Children In Between’, The William and Mary Quarterly, 70.2 (2013), 273-294.

McDonald, Dedra S., 'Intimacy and Empire: Indian-African Interaction in Spanish Colonial New Mexico, 1500-1800', American Indian Quarterly, 22.1/2 (1998), pp. 134-156.

Powers, Karen Vieira, 'Conquering Discourses of "Sexual Conquest": Of Women, Language, and Mestizaje', Colonial Latin American Review 11.1 (2002), pp. 7-32.

Rappaport, Joanne, The Disappearing Mestizo: Configuring Difference in the Colonial New Kingdom of Granada (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), Ch. 2: ‘Mestizo Networks: Did “Mestizo” Constitute a Group?’, pp. 61-93.

Schroeder, Susan, Stephanie Wood, and Robert Haskett (eds.), Indian Women of Early Mexico (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997).

Scully, Pamela, 'Malintzin, Pocahontas, and Krotoa: Indigenous Women and Myth Models of the Atlantic World', Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 6.3 (2005).

Smith, Vanessa, Intimate Strangers: Friendship, Exchange and Pacific Encounters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Starbuck, Nicole, ‘‘Race’, Intimacy and go-betweens in French-West Papuan encounters’, in: Tiffany Shellam, Maria Nugent, Shino Konishi, and Allison Cadzow (eds.), Brokers and Boundaries: Colonial Exploration in Indigenous Territory (Acton: ANU Press, 2016), pp. 39-59.

Van Kirk, Sylvia, Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983).


Krotoa (2017)