- Introduction (Aug. 25)
- The Broad Strokes (Sep. 1)
- Conversos and the Jewish Heresy (Sep. 8)
- Locality (Sep. 15)
- Moving Up and Out (Sep. 22)
- Witchcraft? (Sep. 29)
- Gender and Sexuality I (Oct. 6)
- Spanish Case Paper (Oct. 13)
- Colonial Contexts I (Oct. 20)
- Extirpation vs Inquisition (Oct. 27)
- Gender and Sexuality II (Nov. 3)
- What if institutions aren’t what they claim? (Nov. 10)
- A Modern Institution? (Nov. 17)
- Mexican Case Paper (Nov. 24)
Introduction (Aug. 25)
To get us thinking critically about the concept of History before turning our attention to the Spanish Inquisition, we will spend some time reading about History and Progress from a philosophical perspective, and set some primary categories of method and politics on the table.
We start the semester with four short pieces. Two address the natural and possible limits of historical knowledge and temporality. Two move us towards looking over the Inquisitor’s shoulder. While reading, consider this big question: What is the status of the past?.
Tosaka Jun, “The Principle of Everydayness and Historical Time,” pp. 3-16 in Ken C. Kawashima, Fabian Schäfer, and Robert Stolz, eds., Tosaka Jun: A Critical Reader (Columbia University East Asia Program, 2013).
Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” pp. 196-209 in Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, ed. Hannah Arendt (Mariner Books, 2019).
Carlo Ginzburg, “The Inquisitor as Anthropologist,” pp. 156-164 in Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method (JHU Press, 1989).
Maya Soifer, “Beyond convivencia: critical reflections on the historiography of interfaith relations in Christian Spain,’ Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 1:1 (2009), pp. 19-35.
The Broad Strokes (Sep. 1)
This week, each of you will pick one of three recent general overviews of the Spanish Inquisition, and read them with an eye for the fundamental historical questions that shape the more specialist historiography. What do these works elide, and what do they put to the forefront?
Please choose one of the following monographs (and hopefully we’ll have all three represented!?):
- Henry Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (Yale, 1998).
- Joseph Perez, The Spanish Inquisition (Yale, 2005).
- Helen Rawlings, The Spanish Inquisition (Blackwell, 2006).
Conversos and the Jewish Heresy (Sep. 8)
The nominal justification of Reina Isabel de Castilla for sponsoring the Inquisition was to guard the purity of the Spanish Church, particularly from the threat posed by “judiazers.” This week, we’re looking at what microhistories of four converso prosecutions can tell us about the converso and Jewish experience under the Inquisition on both sides of the Atlantic.
Miriam Bodian, Dying in the Law of Moses: Crypto-Jewish Martyrdom in the Iberian Wold. Indiana Univ. Press, 2007.
Stefania Pastore, “False Trials and Jews with Old-Fashioned Names: Converso Memory in Toledo,” Loa corónica 41.1 (Falll 2012): 235-262.
Locality (Sep. 15)
The Spanish monarchy, and it’s broader empire, was highly decentralized. Even after the consolidation of Hapsburg rule and its claims to absolute royal power, conditions were negotiated locally, and manifested in such forms as the legal customs and charters of the fuero. How did this manifest in the nominally centralized power of the Holy Office? This week, we look at the operations of the Inquisition in Guadalupe, Spain. How do historians substantiate motive in the actions of the Inquisition, and in its identified targets?
- Gretchen D. Starr-LeBeau, In the Shadow of the Virgin: Inquisitors, Friars, and Conversos in Guadalupe, Spain. Princeton University Press, 2003.
Moving Up and Out (Sep. 22)
The Atlantic Empire of the Castile is most commonly associated with the Spanish Empire of the 15th and 16th-century Empire. But, the Crown of Aragon also managed Spanish imperial power in the Mediterranean. This week looks at the operations of the Inquisition in Spain’s European and Mediterranean borderlands.
- William Monter, Frontiers of Heresy: The Spanish INquisition form the Basque Lands to Sicily. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990.
Witchcraft? (Sep. 29)
The predominate imagination around witchcraft in Europe envisions dramatic trials and public executions that were often absent in Spain and its empire. Nonetheless, this week we’ll consider a provocative account of the interest in and persecution of witches and witchcraft as a form of primitive accumulation.
- Silvia Federici, Calaban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. Audonomedia, 2004.
Gender and Sexuality I (Oct. 6)
The Spanish Inquisition had differing effects on men and women. Women’s control over and proximity to food, a significant supposed marker of religious identity, placed them at risk of suspicion. But also, the potential heretical spirituality of women outside of or weakly underneath priestly control problematized their religious commitments beyond questions of limpieza de sangre. This week’s readings include a short book on the political implications of ecstatic dreams, as well as a series of essays on women in Iberia under the Inquisition.
Mary Giles, ed. Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World. JHU Press, 1999. Selections.
Richard Kagan, Lucrecia’s Dreams: Politics and Prophecy in Sixteenth-Century Spain. University of California Press, 1995.
Spanish Case Paper (Oct. 13)
This week we will discuss your papers.
Colonial Contexts I (Oct. 20)
How did colonial society make problematic the operating categories of the Inquisition? What did limpieza de sangre, piety, and institutional authority mean in the context of the Viceroyalties of the Americas? Where did the Inquisition fit in the institutional organization of structures of sovereignty and control under early modern empire?
María Elena Martinez, Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico. Stanford Univ. Press, 2008.
J.L Phelan, “Authority and Flexibility in the Spanish Imperial Bureaucracy” Administrative Science Quarterly, 5.1 (Jun., 1960), pp. 47-65.
Extirpation vs Inquisition (Oct. 27)
Early on, the Crown ruled to exclude indigenous communities from the jurisdiction of the Inquisition. Of course, this did not mean that native religious beliefs and practices were left unattended. How did extirpation of native practices relate to the process, procedure, and ideology of the inquisitor?
Kenneth Mills, Idolatry and its Enemies: Colonial Andean Religion and Extirpation, 1640-1750. Princeton Univ. Press, 1997.
Patricia Lopes don, “Franciscans, Indian Sorcerers, and the Inquisition in New Spain, 1536-1543,” Journal of World History 17.1 (March 2006): 27-48.
Gender and Sexuality II (Nov. 3)
As an extension of the Castilian Inquisition (as opposed to in Aragon and Valencia), the Holy Office in the Americas did not have jurisdiction over unnatural sex, unless it involved sacrilege. This week’s readings put clerical and lay sexuality into context with one another in Mexico and Cartagena.
Zeb Tortorici, Sins Against Nature: Sex & Archives in Colonial New Spain (Duke: 2018)
Nicole von Germeten, “Archival Narratives of Clerical Sodomy and Suicide from Eighteenth-Century Cartagena”
Nora Jaffary, “Sacred Defiance and Sexual Desecration”
What if institutions aren’t what they claim? (Nov. 10)
Dependence on institutional sources runs the risk of accepting the self-proclaimed legitimacy of those sources as normative. Martin Nesvig does not do that.
- Martin Nesvig, Promiscuous Power: An Unorthodox History of New Spain. Univ. of Texas Press, 2018.
A Modern Institution? (Nov. 17)
In the end, what role did the Inquisition as an institution play in the emergence of modernity? Are analogues in the current day of its methods and truths indicative of a formative, or even modern institution? Or does the context of the Inquisition’s activity within the juridical and jurisdictional specificities of early modern Spanish Empire restrict it’s import?
- Irene Silverblatt, Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World. Duke Univ. Press, 2004.
Mexican Case Paper (Nov. 24)
One last discussion, of your own work. And then…
That’s a wrap!!