Keen’s Latin American Civilization

A Primary Source Reader, Volume One: The Colonial Era

Robert M. Buffington, Lila Caimari

Tenth Edition • July 28, 2015 • 320 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813348896 • $42.00 USD$59.99 CAN

Sale Ebook ISBN: 9780813348902 • $25.99 USD $8.99 USD$25.99 CAN $11.99 CAN

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The tenth edition of Keen’s Latin American Civilization inaugurates a new era in the history of this classic anthology by dividing it into two volumes. This first volume retains most of the colonial period sources from the ninth edition but with some significant additions, including new sets of images representing Brazilian cannibals and “casta paintings” of mixed race families, an alternative conquest narrative, and five new readings on imperial governance, gender, and sexuality—including selections from the autobiography of a Spanish nun who took on a male persona to fight as a soldier in the American colonies. The 88 excerpts in Volume One provide foundational and riveting first-hand accounts of life in colonial Latin America. Concise introductions for chapters and excerpts provide essential context for understanding the primary sources.

Robert M. Buffington is a professor in the Women and Gender Studies Program at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Lila Caimari is a researcher at CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Part One: Indian and Hispanic Origins

1 Ancient America on the Eve of Conquest

1 Aztec Warfare
2 The Halls of Moctezuma
3 Aztec Industry and Commerce
4 The Condition of Aztec Agricultural Workers
5 An Aztec Mother Advises Her Daughter
6 Mayan Industry, Commerce, and Agriculture
7 The Mayan Social Order
8 Mayan Religious Life
9 Mayan Origin Myth
10 How the Inca Formed a Nation
11 The Village Basis of Incan Society
12 Two Views of the Incan Empire

2 Hispanic Society on the Eve of the Conquest

1 The Catholic Sovereigns
2 The Spanish Inquisition
3 The Spanish Character
4 Columbus Sets the Stage
5 The Portrait of the Conqueror
6 Men’s Honor and Women’s Shame
7 Devotion to God

Part Two: Conquest and Colonization

3 Conquest

1 October 12, 1492
2 The Discovery of the Pacific
3 The Meeting of Cortés and Moctezuma
4 Twilight over Tenochtitlán
5 Rendezvous at Cajamarca
6 How the New Laws Were Received in Peru
7 The Man Who Would Be King
8 Advice to a Would-Be Conqueror
9 Lope de Aguirre: Disillusioned Warrior
10 Journey’s End
11 War and Cannibalism Among the Brazilian Indians
12 On Cannibals, Curious Customs, and Conflict
13 Living with the Enemy

4 Colonization

1 The Strange Sermon of Fr. Montesinos
2 The Laughter of Dr. Palacios Rubios
3 Bartolomé de las Casas: God’s Angry Man
4 All Humankind Is One
5 The Portuguese Colonizer
6 The Slave Hunters
7 Aimoré: Word of Terror
8 Indian Forced Labor in Guatemala
9 Debt Peonage in Peru
10 Dialogue in Yucatán
11 Guaman Poma Assesses the Conquest

Part Three: The Colonial Political Economy

5 The Colonial Economy

1 The Indian Agricultural Heritage
2 Spain’s Contributions to New World Agriculture
3 The Potosí Mine
4 The Colonial Factory
5 On the Sea-Road to the Indies
6 The Great Fair at Portobello
7 A Foreign View of the Spanish Commercial System
8 The Rise and Fall of Villa Rica

6 Colonial Political and Religious Institutions

1 The New Laws
2 “These Laws Are Obeyed and Not Enforced”
3 Colonial Pomp and Circumstance
4 “I Have Seen Corruption Boil and Bubble . . . ”
5 The Corregidor: Enemy of the People
6 City Government in the Spanish Indies
7 The Jesuit Indian Policy
8 The Administration of Colonial Brazil
9 Local Government: The Capitão-Môr

Part Four: Colonial Society and Culture

7 Colonial Society

1 The Colonial City: Mexico City
2 The Mestizo: Seed of Tomorrow
3 The Indian Town
4 The Structure of Class and Caste
5 Racial Anxieties
6 The World of the Sugar Plantation
7 The Free Population
8 The Social Consequences of Slavery

8 Colonial Culture

1 The Colonial University
2 The Tenth Muse
3 On the Foolishness of Men
4 Gender Trouble
5 Gaucho Entertainment
6 Indians and the Environment
7 Sexual and Racial Politics

Part Five: Late Colonial Developments

9 The Bourbon Reforms

1 The Bourbon Commercial Reforms
2 The Revival of Mining
3 The New Experimental Sciences and Catholic Education
4 Colonial Industry in Decline
5 Political Reform: The Intendant System
6 The More Things Change . . .

10 Winds of Change

1 Colonial Journalism in Action
2 A Colonial Freethinker
3 A Plan for Democratic Education
4 The Plan of Tupac Amaru
5 A Heroine of the Tupac Amaru Revolt
6 A Charter of Liberty
7 Brazilian Slaves Resist

“This collection of documents provides an exciting mosaic of ideas and images from the Latin American colonial past. It provides readers the opportunity to look at the processes of conquest and colonization from a wide variety of vantage points. Primary sources cover socioeconomic and political aspects of pre-Columbian and colonial societies as well as religion, race relations, gender and sexuality, art, honor, and everyday life. Written documents are complemented with lively images and paintings. While the focus is on Mexico and the Andes, the peripheral areas of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese domain of Brazil are also well represented. This thematic richness is matched by the multiplicity of voices. European conquerors and native peoples, intellectuals, government officials, travelers, scientists, and members of the Catholic Church, men and women, in sum, people from very different walks of life, are heard throughout these pages. The introductory pieces and headnotes are clear and precise. It is hard to think of a more comprehensive and sophisticated teaching tool for survey courses on colonial Lain America.
—Sergio Serulnikov, Universidad de San Andrés / CONICET

“For decades Keen’s Latin American Civilization has engaged students in primary sources from the widest variety of materials. Covering the preconquest and colonial periods, Volume 1 of the new divided version continues to provide excellent translations while enhancing coverage by adding new sources on a variety of subjects, from gender to the Bourbon reforms. Weekly discussion of a small selection of sources has worked masterfully in my courses to force students to think like historians by analyzing sources directly. Keen’s Latin American Civilization is the most comprehensive anthology of primary sources available in English for the Spanish colonial period.”
—Jeremy Baskes, Ohio Wesleyan University

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