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4911 - RACES, CASTES AND OTHER WORDS On the concept of race in Latin American colonial history: New perspectives

The last 15 years have seen a renewal of academic interest in the study of the concept of race in Iberoamerica from an historical perspective. Some of these works have that the concept is the product of a series of conditions which developed in the Iberian peninsular since the 15th century associated with the consolidation of discourses and practices of discrimination based on the criteria of »blood purity«. I will discuss this thesis proposing that colonial difference emerged in the context of enunciative spaces which gradually acquired different characteristics throughout colonial history and enabled the emergence of various elements of signification. It seems to me that applying a conceptual criterion such as that of »race«, for the sake of a coherent explanation, when giving an account of this complex genealogy, reduces the heterogeneity and dispersion of the colonial enunciative regimes to an order which is fundamentally foreign to them. In my contributions I have tried to discern other discursive relationships underlying the discourses of colonial difference. One of the challenges, therefore, will be that of re-reading the emergence of the 19th century concept of » race« as an effect of this enunciative field. That effect will be determined by specific and historically defined relationships involving diverse criteria which could interrelate in complimentary or contradictory ways.

Keywords: concept of race, colonial Latin America, racial relations, purity of blood, mestizaje,

Author: chaves, maria eugenia (universidad nacional de colombia, Colombia / Kolumbien)

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