This book centers on two inquisitorial investigations, both of which began in the 1540s. One involved the relations of Europeans and Native Americans in an Oaxacan town (in New Spain, today’s Mexico). The other involved relations of Moriscos (recent Muslim converts to Catholicism) and Old Christians (people with deep Catholic ancestries) in the Mediterranean kingdom of Valencia (in the "old" Spain).
Although separated by an ocean, the social worlds preserved in the inquisitorial files share many things. By comparing and contrasting the two inquisitions, Hamann reveals how very local practices and debates had long-distance parallels that reveal the larger entanglements of a transatlantic early modern world. Through a dialogue of two microhistories, he presents a macrohistory of large-scale social transformation. We see how attempts in both places to turn old worlds into new ones were centered on struggles over materiality and temporality. By paying close attention to theories (and practices) of reduction and conversion, Hamann suggests we can move beyond anachronistic models of social change as colonization and place questions of time and history at the center of our understandings of the sixteenth-century past.
The book is an intervention in major debates in both history and anthropology: about the writing of global histories, our conceptualizations of the colonial, the nature of religious and cultural change, and the roles of material things in social life and the imagination of time.
About the Author
Byron Hamann is an Associate Professor in the Department of History of Art at The Ohio State University, USA.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1.Ashes and Silkworms 2.Geographies of Discord 3. Catholic Catholicisms 4. The Poverty of Economy 5. Ruination 6. The Excavation of the Dead 7. Chronologies at War Conclusion Epilogue