History •  Latin America and American Indians

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To Be Indio in Colonial Spanish America

Edited by Mónica Díaz

The conquest and colonization of the Americas imposed new social, legal, and cultural categories upon vast and varied populations of indigenous people. The colonizers’ intent was to homogenize these cultures and make all of them “Indian.” The creation of those new identities is the subject of the essays collected in Díaz’s To Be Indio in Colonial Spanish America. Focusing on central Mexico and the Andes (colonial New Spain and Peru), the contributors deepen scholarly knowledge of colonial history and literature, emphasizing the different ways people became and lived their lives as indios. While the construction of indigenous identities has been a theme of considerable interest among Latin Americanists since the early 1990s, this book presents new archival research and interpretive thinking, offering new material and a new approach to the subject to both scholars of colonial Peru and central Mexico.


Mónica Díaz is an associate professor of history and Hispanic studies at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of Indigenous Writings from the Convent: Negotiating Ethnic Autonomy in Colonial Mexico.


“This book represents an important contribution to the understanding of native agency and contact negotiations that took place in the colonial period by emphasizing how locality affected the wide range of native forms of collective and individual identities. The essays are thoroughly researched and clearly written.”


Mariselle Meléndez, author of Deviant and Useful Citizens: The Cultural Production of the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Peru

6 x 9 in. 296 pages 4 halftones