Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas

Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas: Empires, Texts, Identities

Ralph Bauer
José Antonio Mazzotti
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    Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas
    Book Description:

    Creolization describes the cultural adaptations that occur when a community moves to a new geographic setting. Exploring the consciousness of peoples defined as "creoles" who moved from the Old World to the New World, this collection of eighteen original essays investigates the creolization of literary forms and genres in the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americasfacilitates a cross-disciplinary, intrahemispheric, and Atlantic comparison of early settlers' colonialism and creole elites' relation to both indigenous peoples and imperial regimes. Contributors explore literatures written in Spanish, Portuguese, and English to identify creole responses to such concepts as communal identity, local patriotism, nationalism, and literary expression.The essays take the reader from the first debates about cultural differences that underpinned European ideologies of conquest to the transposition of European literary tastes into New World cultural contexts, and from the natural science discourse concerning creolization to the literary manifestations of creole patriotism. The volume includes an addendum of etymological terms and critical bibliographic commentary.Contributors:Ralph Bauer, University of MarylandRaquel Chang-Rodriguez, City University of New YorkLucia Helena Costigan, Ohio State UniversityJim Egan, Brown UniversitySandra M. Gustafson, University of Notre DameCarlos Jauregui, Vanderbilt UniversityYolanda Martinez-San Miguel, University of PennsylvaniaJose Antonio Mazzotti, Tufts UniversityStephanie Merrim, Brown UniversitySusan Scott Parrish, University of MichiganLuis Fernando Restrepo, University of Arkansas, FayettevilleJeffrey H. Richards, Old Dominion UniversityKathleen Ross, New York UniversityDavid S. Shields, University of South CarolinaTeresa A. Toulouse, Tulane UniversityLisa Voigt, University of ChicagoJerry M. Williams, West Chester University

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0041-3
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas
    (pp. 1-58)

    Why and how people who have descended from the Old World change once they are transplanted to the New already occupied the Spanish natural historians and ethnographers of the New World during the sixteenth century. Early modern writers such as Bernadino de Sahagún, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdes, and José de Acosta provided the earliest theories of “creolization”—the process of cultural change in different geographic locations that has interested anthropologists, cultural geographers, and linguists up to the present time. But, while modern scholars have often celebrated creolization in the New World as “creative adaptations,” evidencing human innovation and...

  6. PART I: New Worlds, New Empires, New Societies

    • Cannibalism, the Eucharist, and Criollo Subjects
      (pp. 61-100)

      Beyond the archaeological and anthropological disputes over evidence indicating that people might have been eating one another since prehistoric times, cannibalism has been one of those primary images, desires, and fears on which both subjectivity and culture are based. Powerful narrations and images of man-eating men have been present for centuries, across many cultures and cultural traditions, myths, tales, and artistic works. As a frequently used cultural metaphor,cannibalismconstitutes a way to make sense of others and of ourselves as well; it is a trope that embodies the fear of the dissolution of identity, and, conversely, it is a...

    • Sons of the Dragon; or, The English Hero Revived
      (pp. 101-117)

      At first, two narratives dominated the welter of stories relating English imperial enterprise. One enjoyed semiofficial sanction—the tale of the English commercial empire of the seas, the peaceful “imperium pelagi,” which was said to be so different and so much more ethical than Spain’s conquered territories.

      The other began as an alternative official discourse but lost sanction during the Restoration, only to survive in the popular imagination. It was the adventure tale of the common English man who by daring, religious zeal, and martial mayhem won rank, riches, and renown wresting the world and its treasures for the nation....

    • Cruel Criollos in Guaman Poma de Ayala’s First New Chronicle and Good Government
      (pp. 118-134)

      Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala is one of the most polemic and admired native authors of the colonial period.El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno[The First New Chronicle and Good Government] (1615–1616), his long illustrated history (1,190 pages, 398 pen-and-ink drawings by the author) of ancient Andean times and Inca and colonial rule, was discovered in 1908 in the Royal Library of Copenhagen by Richard A. Pietschmann and first published in facsimile in 1936 by the Institut d’Ethnologie of the Université de Paris under the supervision of Paul Rivet. Anthropologists consider it a primary source of information...

    • Barefoot Folks with Tawny Cheeks: Creolism in the Literary Chesapeake, 1680–1750
      (pp. 135-161)

      The essential characteristics of European creolism in the Chesapeake, as observed by poets and other creative writers, include the following distinctions from practices in Britain: adaptation of new foodways (corn-based), clothing styles (radical simplicity), and expectations for household goods (spartan); centrality of alcohol to culture; exposure to the sun and consequent darkening of white skin; contact with other racial as well as culture groups in native peoples and Africans; altered vocabularies and linguistic patterns from those of the British Isles; freethinking; and political enfranchisement (of persons unable to exercise it at home). For the purposes of this essay, which is...

    • Colonial Writings as Minority Discourse?
      (pp. 162-190)

      Criollismo has been one of the key discursive formations in the study of Latin American cultural and literary history for two main reasons. First, it has allowed scholars to focus on the articulation and emergence of a Euro-American discourse that is crucial for the constitution of a distinct Latin Americanist discourse. Second, in official history creoles were the leading social sector in the battles of independence, and their symbolic repertoire prevailed in most of the nineteenth-and twentieth-century nationalist discourses and imaginaries in the Americas. As a consequence, until the late 1990s, most of the hegemonic accounts of nationhood depended on...

  7. PART II: The Cultural Geography of Creole Aesthetics

    • Sor Juana Criolla and the Mexican Archive: Public Performances
      (pp. 193-218)

      Saul Steinberg’s pop classic 1976 print,View of the World from Ninth Avenue,gives us a witty, trenchant, conceptual map of the New Yorker’s worldview. New York City and its towering buildings stand at the heart of that world, dominating it. The New Yorker’s myopic view then leaps to New Jersey and from there telescopes immediately to the West Coast and, faintly, to the Orient and Siberia.

      How might Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s “View of the World” from seventeenth-century Mexico City look?We often train our sights on Sor Juana’s literary panorama, so international and transhistorical; let us...

    • Creole Bradstreet: Philip Sidney, Alexander the Great, and English Identities
      (pp. 219-240)
      JIM EGAN

      Was Anne Bradstreet born of noble blood? Bradstreet scholars have long wondered. What, after all, could she have meant in 1650 when she claimed in “An Elegie upon That Honourable and Renowned Knight, SirPhilip Sidney” to share “the self-same blood” as the famous poet whose noble lineage was beyond dispute? If the substitution of “English” for “self-same” in the 1678 Boston edition of her poetry was meant to clarify the issue, it has had precisely the opposite effect. Scholars have been led to wonder whether she revised those lines to clarify what a first-time poet had left ambiguous, or...

    • Self-and Collective Identity among New Christians in the Periphery of the Iberian Empires: Bento Teixeira, Ambrósio Fernandes Brandão, and Manuel Beckman
      (pp. 241-264)

      In the Introduction toColonial Identity in the Atlantic World,1500–1800, John H. Elliott observes that the tendency to study areas of the colonial Atlantic world as compartmentalized societies has led to a narrowing focus and a great divide even among “specialists, working on the same empire.” The narrowing focus and the “great divide” underlined by Elliott can be seen in the historiography that constitutes the canon known as colonial Latin American studies. Using as an example the colonial period, one can see that, despite the inclusion of the experiences of indigenous subjects, the canon is still very restricted...

    • Spectacular Wealth: Baroque Festivals and Creole Consciousness in Colonial Mining Towns of Brazil and Peru
      (pp. 265-290)

      In studying the emergence of a creole consciousness among New World inhabitants of Iberian ancestry, critics have traditionally focused on texts produced in and about Mexico City and Lima, as Lúcia Helena Costigan has pointed out. She cites the example of Solange Alberro’s essay “La emergencia de la conciencia criolla: el caso novohispano” [The Emergence of Creole Consciousness: The Case of New Spain], which argues that only the viceregal centers of New Spain and Peru, with their strong economic and institutional structures—court, administration, cathedral, inquisition, universities, academies, convents, guilds, brotherhoods, printing presses, bookstores, theaters—were able to promote the...

  8. PART III: Creole Bodies:: Race, Gender, Ethnicity

    • Gender and Gossip in Criollo Historiography: Juan Suárez de Peralta’s Tratado del descubrimiento de las Indias y su conquista (1589)
      (pp. 293-312)

      The present essay grows from a larger project concerning Americanborn historians writing in colonial Mexico around the turn of the seventeenth century; it examines their complexities and positionalities as colonial subjects and the role of their narratives in a larger colonial and historiographical discourse. This corpus of texts includes the work of criollo, mestizo, and indigenous historiographers and epic poets such as Francisco de Terrazas, Baltasar Dorantes de Carranza, Antonio de Saavedra Guzmán, Alvarado Tezozomoc, and others. These are not works with which many readers, even scholars in the field, are immediately familiar; in fact, these texts have received very...

    • Female Captivity and “Creole” Male Identity in the Narratives of Mary Rowlandson and Hannah Swarton
      (pp. 313-333)

      In 1697, the third-generation New England minister Cotton Mather transcribed or, more probably, ghostwrote the narrative of a Casco Bay woman, Hannah Swarton, who had been held captive first by Indians and later by French Canadians from 1690 until 1695. In supporting, appropriating, and even writing the story of a woman taken captive, Mather follows in the footsteps of his father, Puritan minister Increase Mather, who, some fifteen years before, had possibly written and certainly supported the preface to a wildly popular text preceding and influencing that of Swarton, the 1682 narrative of Mary Rowlandson, wife of Increase Mather’s friend...

    • The Ambivalent Nativism of Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita’s Historia general de las conquistas del Nuevo Reyno de Granada (1688)
      (pp. 334-354)

      In 1663, the vicar general of the archbishopric of New Granada, Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita (Santa Fe de Bogotá, 1624–Panamá, 1688), had to travel to Spain to defend himself against the accusations of thevisitador(royal inspector) Don Juan Cornejo. The indictment touched a sensitive point for colonial Spanish American society: Piedrahita’s mother was a mestiza, granddaughter of Inca princess Francisca Coya, and his father was reportedly a carpenter. Could this accusation damage irreparably the reputation of an otherwise highly successful ecclesiastical official?¹

      Throughout Spanish America, preoccupations with purity of blood and a contempt for manual labor made part...

    • William Byrd II and the Crossed Languages of Science, Satire, and Empire in British America
      (pp. 355-372)

      Cultural historians of the colonization of America have repeatedly emphasized European languages’ role in mitigating the strangeness of the New World. From Columbus’s renaming of western islands after Christian holy figures and monarchs to the projection of biblical and classical narratives to the imposition of Linnaeus’s universal taxonomies in the mid-eighteenth century, colonials pasted single words, plots, clusters of metaphors, and nomenclatural systems on American matter to claim literal or intellectual possession over it. Anthony Pagden, focusing on Ibero-America, calls this process of assimilation and possession “attachment”; Robert Lawson-Peebles, focusing on British America, dubs this cognitive projection “redcoatism”; and Mary...

  9. PART IV: Creole Politics of Memory and Knowledge

    • El Dorado, Paradise, and Supreme Sanctity in Seventeenth-Century Peru: A Creole Agenda
      (pp. 375-411)

      The legend of a land of gold accompanied the history of the Spanish conquest from its very beginning. Even as the earliest settlements of La Española (present-day Dominican Republic and Haiti) were being established in the late 1400s, numerous stories had begun to circulate about the great wealth of the newly discovered islands. Columbus was the first to mention the abundance of gold in the New World, although his observation was largely wishful thinking, used to lure support from the Spanish monarchs. In the third of hisDiaries,Columbus actually claims that the Garden of Eden must have been located...

    • Popularizing the Ethic of Conquest: Peralta Barnuevo’s Historia de España vindicada
      (pp. 412-441)

      Lima’s Pedro Peralta Barnuevo (1664–1743), along with Mexico’s Carlos Sigüenza y Góngora, has been called one of the few geniuses that America produced; he inherited many of the sobriquets last applied to Peninsular writers such as Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Calderón de la Barca: “fénix de los ingenios” [phoenix of creative persons] and “monstruo de naturaleza” [prodigy of nature]. Born almost one hundred years after Lope de Vega, he came to be known as “el gran Peralta” [the great Peralta], “monstruo de erudición” [prodigy of erudition], “fénix americano” [the American phoenix], and the “Pico della Mirandola peruano” [Peruvian...

    • The “Rebellious Muse”: Time, Space, and Race in the Revolutionary Epic
      (pp. 442-464)

      In 1825, the Ecuadorian poet José Joaquín Olmedo (1780–1847) published an ode commemorating Simón Bolívar’s and Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre’s recent military victories over the Spanish and loyalist armies at Junín and Ayacucho, respectively. One of the earliest poems of Spanish-American independence,La Victoria de Junínbegins on a note of uncertainty.

      Trémula, incierta,

      torpe la mano va sobre la lira

      dando discorde son. . . .

      . . . . . . . .

      Siento unas veces la rebelde Musa,

      cual bacante en furor, vagar incierta

      por medio de las plazas bulliciosas,

      o sola por las selvas...

    • Natty in the 1820s: Creole Subjects and Democratic Aesthetics in the Early Leatherstocking Tales
      (pp. 465-490)

      Summing up the impact of James Fenimore Cooper’s literary career for an audience of mourners in 1852, William Cullen Bryant eulogized his longtime friend as the author of works whose global reach even a contemporary writer might envy:

      Here we lament the ornament of our country, there they mourn the death of him who delighted the human race. Even now, while I speak, the pulse of grief which is passing through the nations has haply just reached some remote neighbourhood; the news of his death has been brought to some dwelling on the slopes of the Andes, or amidst the...

    (pp. 491-494)
  11. Index
    (pp. 495-503)