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Volume 54 / Humanities

HISTORY: SPANISH SOUTH AMERICA: Colonial Period


JERRY COONEY, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Louisville
S. ELIZABETH PENRY, Assistant Professor of History, Fordham University

CHARCAS

Historiography of Charcas (colonial Bolivia) is clearly reaching its maturity. The most striking publications for this biennium are the many archival catalogs, guides, and documentary sources. The Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales de Bolivia has now published the entire corpus of the Acuerdos de la Real Audiencia (10 volumes) (item #bi2008003726#), the 17th-century Cedulario (#bi2008003735#), and the detailed mining catalog compiled by former archive director, Gunnar Mendoza (item #bi2008003738#). The ABNB is one of the most professionally run archives in the world, and with its superior cataloging and ongoing digitization project (the voluminous records from the 18th-century indigenous rebellions are completely digitized), it is a great pleasure to work there. Updated cataloging has led to the renumbering of some documents; researchers are advised to consult the concordances included in each catalog. The Archivo Histórico in Potosí (item #bi2008003727#) and the Archivo-Biblioteca Arquidiocesanos "Monseñor Taborga" (item #bi2008003732#) have also published guides. The other major trend is the publication of primary sources: a multivolume work of documents transcribed from the Franciscan convent in Tarija (item #bi2008003734#); Jesuit relations from Mojos (item #bi2008003733#); plays produced in Potosí (item #bi2008003724#); and a volume especially strong for ethnohistory (item #bi2008003739#). [SEP]

PERU

Several new trends in colonial Peruvian historiography are evident in this biennium. One striking movement in colonial Latin American studies is the analytical use of the term "negotiation," which has come to replace "resistance" as a way of interpreting indigenous-Spanish interaction. Leading the way are young scholars such as Wernke (item #bi2008003723#), and the contributors to the Drinot and Garofalo collection (item #bi2008003718#). Following the trail blazed by John Murra, Wernke (item #bi2008003723#), and Covey (item #bi2008003715#) illustrate a renewed interest in truly interdisciplinary research—in this case, combining archeology and ethnohistory. These two scholars (both trained in anthropology) strongly challenge long-held beliefs on the Toledan reducciones and the historicity of the Inca state. Subaltern literacy is the theme in item #bi2007001922# and a lietmotif in several other studies (items #bi2006001683#, #bi2008003719#, #bi2005006673#, and #bi2007001905#), although concerns about the authenticity of indigenous people writing in Spanish continue to plague some scholars (on this see the seminal work by William F. Hanks for Spanish language writing by Maya nobility in colonial Guatemala, HLAS 52:521). This area is clearly overdue for reconsideration. A trend that continues from the last biennium is the recent emphasis on 16th-century civil wars (items #bi2008003710# and #bi2008003717#, and as a secondary theme in item #bi2008003711#). Other studies on the early colonial period (items #bi2008003704#, #bi2007001920#, #bi2008001407#, and #bi2008003705#) point to the fluidity of ethnic categories. As usual there are works on Tupac Amaru (items #bi2005006015# and #bi2008003708#), but a major shift seems to be underway in rebellion historiography as scholars grapple with historicizing Tupac Amaru's role, moving away from the nationalist-dominated historiography of the 20th century. This is another area of colonial historiography ripe for reinterpretation along the lines of works on the more heavily documented rebel regions of La Paz, Oruro, and Chayanta. [SEP]

RIO DE LA PLATA

Social history continues to have a strong research focus. Carlos Mayo's outstanding study of the fluid nature of rural society in Buenos Aires province and its significance for later capitalist development is an authoritative work (item #bi2007001194#). Equally of note is the exhaustive study of marriage in Córdoba by Ghiraldi (item #bi2007001200#). Faberman's investigation of hechcería in Córdoba (item #bi2007001186#) and César's narrative of Buenos Aires' Carnaval (item #bi2007001185#) both address aspects of folk culture that authorities in colonial and national eras viewed with much suspicion and continually tried to suppress or control.

Several excellent books on economic history have appeared. Caballero Campos' complete study on the royal tobacco monopoly in Paraguay (item #bi2008002762#) is important for economic change in late colonial Paraguay. Rivarola Paoli's work on the royal hacienda in Paraguay is not only a solid contribution in its own right, but also opens the way for further investigation into Paraguay's colonial economy (item #bi2007001181#). The collection of contributions on regional trade routes during the colonial period brings together some fine studies (item #bi2007001183#).

Barreneche ably handles the questions of crime, power of alcaldes, and the use of the courts in Buenos Aires to ensure social control (item #bi2006000508#) while Levaggi's study of jails reveals the sharp contrast between theory and reality in the discussion of that institution (item #bi2007001354#). Both emphasize the direful inheritance from the colonial era of official attitudes, practice, and institutions.

A surprising but welcome development is the number of books on colonial Paraguay. In addition to those of Caballero Campos and Rivarola Paoli, there is a good study of the last colonial governor of Paraguay (item #bi2008002759#), a guide to Jesuit documents in the Archivo Nacional de Asunción (item #bi2008002764#), a study of a minor figure of the conquest (item #bi2007001187#), a useful extract from Juan Francisco Aguirre's Diario (item #bi2007001199#), and a translated collection of articles by North American scholars on Paraguay's colonial frontier and rural history (item #bi2008002760#). On the other hand, the lack of works on colonial Uruguay is striking. [JWC]


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