Colonial Assemblages: Objects, Territories, and Racialized Subjects in Pre-Independence Latin America


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Romance Languages, Hispanic Studies


In Latin America, the constitution of an “objectified” colonial subject was especially central amid the exponential multiplication of the “castas” (the offspring of Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians). This research explores how material culture—as interpreted from available archeological evidence, art-historical documents, and museum artifacts—shaped notions of race and ethnicity in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century Mexico and Peru. By focusing on the social and politicized traces of physical objects and spaces that manifest in re-readings of texts and images, this study exposes the gaps that have been left by non-materialist critiques to unearth the traces of material culture found in key colonial accounts (Hernán Cortés, Guaman Poma, Sor Juana) or existing in their particular context of production.