Cartas de América #19: we have got to write better hagiographies

It is necessary to tell stories about powerful men getting erotic satisfaction out of domination and violence being on the wrong side of God. It is good to shout that their victims are the holy ones. It is essential for the moral credibility of the Church to grasp these dynamics in the past if weContinue reading “Cartas de América #19: we have got to write better hagiographies”

Cartas de América #17: the first indigenous nuns tell their own stories

The first painting I saw when I walked into Painted in Mexico/Pinxit Mexici, currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, belongs to a favorite subgenre of mine: art that depicts art. Specifically, it depicts the altarpiece by Juan Rodríguez Juárez in the chapel at the Convent of Corpus ChristiContinue reading “Cartas de América #17: the first indigenous nuns tell their own stories”

Cartas de América #15: if you want slavery abolished, you gotta do it yourself

Earlier this year, I told you about a project I’m working on for which the working title is Repent! (And Have It Notarized.) C’mon, that’s a way better dissertation title than “‘Ni un sólo maravedí que suyo sea’: the theology of restitution in New Spain,” right? Anyway, here’s a quick refresher: in 1552, Bartolomé deContinue reading “Cartas de América #15: if you want slavery abolished, you gotta do it yourself”

Cartas de América #14: reading liberation theology during finals week

The second book I read after my comprehensive exams ended was Teología de la liberación by Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P. (The first was the latest Miss Kopp adventure.) It seemed ludicrous that I’d gotten this far as a student of Latin American Catholicism without reading it. But like many people, like many of you I bet,Continue reading “Cartas de América #14: reading liberation theology during finals week”

Cartas de América #13: A Short History of “Latin America”

I got my undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies, but I always lie about it. I usually call it Latin American history or languages or sociology or religion or any other number of things it wasn’t. I find my discomfort with my career productive. To admit I study a completely made-up thing is to recognizeContinue reading “Cartas de América #13: A Short History of “Latin America””

Cartas de América #12: thoughts from the roof of the Trocadero Hotel

On October 19, 1901, Alberto Santos=Dumont (he was fond of using an equals sign, not a hyphen, to honor his Brazilian and French heritage equally) climbed to the roof of the Trocadero Hotel. He’d only been flying for nine minutes when he made it to the Eiffel Tower, suspended in glory by hydrogen gas andContinue reading “Cartas de América #12: thoughts from the roof of the Trocadero Hotel”

Cartas de América #11: ¡viva la religión y muera el mal gobierno!

On December 12, 1794, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Dominican friar named fray Servando Teresa de Mier approached the pulpit to rewrite history. For this he was investigated by the Inquisition, sent to Spain to be put on trial, was sentenced to ten years’ exile, and was banned from preaching and confessingContinue reading “Cartas de América #11: ¡viva la religión y muera el mal gobierno!”

Cartas de América #9: REPENT! (and have it notarized)

In 1552, Bartolomé de las Casas proposed material restitution for involvement in colonization and indigenous enslavement as a condition for absolution. Let’s talk about that. Cartas de América #9: REPENT! (and have it notarized)

Cartas de América #7: all thinkpieces should be written in octava real

It’s not just that the Spanish lost the war. This poem is about how wrong they were to have fought it in the first place. … All of which is to say, don’t let anybody tell you the Spanish didn’t know what they were doing. Don’t let anybody remind you to judge people by theContinue reading “Cartas de América #7: all thinkpieces should be written in octava real”

Estos, ¿no son hombres?

Para os los dar a cognoscer me he sobido aquí, yo que soy voz de Cristo en el desierto desta isla; y, por tanto, conviene que con atención, no cualquiera sino con todo vuestro corazón y con todos vuestros sentidos, la oigáis; la cual será la más nueva que nunca oísteis, la más áspera yContinue reading “Estos, ¿no son hombres?”