As part of the Colloquium Series Political Imaginaries Across Latin America and the Caribbean, CLACS at NYU is hosting a lecture by Irene Silverblatt, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, History, and Women's Studies at Duke University.
Professor Silverblatt will explore the racializing of human beings and its repercussions for colonial categories of rule and the cultural ordering of the modern world. Hannah Arendt, among others, understood 19th century European colonialism - a form of governance which, like twentieth century fascism, supported the world-wide dominance of a master race -- as key to understanding the brutal, submerged underside of modern, Western experience. However, it was 16th century Europe’s first wave of colonial expansion, spearheaded by Spain, that provides a more elaborate picture. The first wave was forged during the turbulence of modern state-making when many (but not all) officials of Church and Crown believed the Peninsula’s “New Christians” (or conversos of Jewish and Moorish descent) could not be loyal subjects because they were cursed by the “stained blood” of their ancestors. Transported to the Americas, the New Christian syndrome, with its obsession with blood purity and its political language of stains, fertilized the racial bent of modern, colonial geopolitics. Our point of entry into this discussion will be the meanings of New Christian in the New World.
Irene Silverblatt, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, History, and Women’s Studies at Duke University, researches the cultural dimensions of power: she studies state-building and colonization in Latin America as well as the politics of memory in central Europe. Publications include Harvest of Blossoms: Poetry of a Life Cut Short (Collected Poetry of Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger) (edited and with an introduction by Irene Silverblatt and Helene Silverblatt 2008); Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World (2004); Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (1987) as well as articles on these themes. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University), and the Social Science Research Council, among others. She has also served as President of the American Society for Ethnohistory.
Sinclair Thomson, Associate Professor of History at NYU, will serve as a discussant for this lecture.
This event is free and open to the public. ID required for entry.