Religions, race

Relrac2016 - Body and blood. Racialization in colonial societies 1 juin 2016

Colloque international - Les religions face aux théories et aux politiques de la «race» (XVe-XXIe siècle)


Body and blood. Racialization in colonial societies

Intervenant : Max Hering Torres, Université de Bogota


In the light of the conversions to Christianity of a large majority of Sephardic Jews, Spanish society defined the judeo-converso as “impure”. Based on this argument the concept of limpieza de sangre was developed in Spain but also in colonial Spanish America. In both places, purity of blood statutes were implemented in order to hinder access to power by New Christians, who were considered to be “impure”. This paper discusses early modern and colonial conceptualizations about race, which encapsulated different ideas, linked to the notions of pureza (purity), casta (caste), color and calidad (quality): a conceptual juncture which is different from modern racism in Europa, but served also as a strategy to perpetuate otherness and ensure power.

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