Savage Pasts, Baroque Futures: Racial Hierarchy and the Political Theology of Spanish Empire

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University Club, Room 212
@ 4:30 pm - 5:45 pm

This Burdick-Vary event hosted by Daniel J. Kapust (Senior Fellow, 2019-2023) features a lecture by Mauro Caraccioli (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Virginia Tech).

The intellectual history of religion in Colonial Spanish America is rife with treatises, polemics, and testimonies written by missionaries during the so-called Spiritual Conquest of the New World (1511-1767). Many of these writings saw the expansion of faith and empire in hybrid ways, yet they also continue to occupy a controversial space in the history of political thought. Missing from current renditions of the field are the religious origins of colonial culture in the Americas and the racial hierarchies that shaped religious life. This project demonstrates that one of the central pillars of the Spanish Empire, far from being solely dedicated to monolithic indoctrination, was the dynamic exchanges between religious intellectuals and indigenous, black, and women colonial subjects. As the Spanish Empire moved from conquest and colonization to governance and socialization, new narratives emerged to account for the broad diversity of the Empire’s subjects – first as a problem and second as a site of negotiation.

A poster for the event "Savage Pasts, Baroque Futures" with a photo of Mauro J. Caraccioli and an early modern map of the americas.

Additional lecture on April 26th featuring Mauro Caraccioli titled “Inverting the Encounter Paradigm: Blackness and (In)Visibility in Colonial Spanish America” will be co-sponsored by the Center for Early Modern Studies, The UW-Madison Political Theory Workshop, and the Department of Political Science’s Diversity, Equity, Justice and Power (DEJP) Lecture Series.