Scholars of Latin American history and culture have lost a giant in the field. Professor Benjamin Keen, emeritus professor of history at Northern Illinois University, passed away on Friday, November 1, 2002, in his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his caring companion, Shirley Barnes, and by his four children—Sarah, Peter, Pat, and Gail. Betty Keen, his wife of 59 years, soul mate, and mother of their children, died suddenly six years earlier.

As a scholar, Ben Keen was perhaps best known for a stimulating and ultimately transformative debate with Lewis Hanke, the distinguished professor of Latin American history at Columbia University, about the nature and consequences of the Spanish conquest. In this exchange, published in the pages of the Hispanic American Historical Review, Ben challenged the then-dominant paradigm of conquest and colonization...

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