The religious dimensions of conquest, indigenous society under colonial rule, export agriculture, populism, the twin rise of labor militancy and state repression in the twentieth century — this issue’s articles take on classic topics of Latin American history, demonstrating the vital insights that come from uniting new optics, new sources, and new methods.

We begin with two articles that foreground material culture. Each author reads textual traces, visual representations, and physical remains in combination to reconstruct patterns of circulation and shifts in the meaning of objects. First, Marcia Stephenson recovers the history of bezoar stones, hardened secretions from the entrails of animals, which early modern Europeans believed to have medicinal properties, particularly as antidotes to poisons. Knowledge drawn from Asian medicine set the context for Spaniards’ 1568 discovery of bezoars in New World camelids, hailed as a treasure on par with silver and...

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